Well... at around this time last year, we actually had an existentialist thriller about some dude living life who has a really dangerous side of him that constantly threatened him. Oh, and he had a lot of ties to crime. So wouldn't you know, they decide to release a movie with similar subject matter this year, at around the same time.
To be honest, though, today's movie couldn't possibly be any more different from the other one.
The driver (Ryan Gosling) (Yes, he remains unnamed throughout the movie, but it really doesn't matter.) is a mysterious man who has no real connections to anything. He does stunt driving, he works at a car shop, and he provides getaway rides by night. He then meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), but then gets pulled into a huge web of conspiracy surrounding her kinda sorta husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) and a crime boss that throws everything into disarray.
So... let's get started with the details? The details? Well, we have a crime thriller here. Oh, but not just any crime thriller: an existentialist crime thriller, with a rather large cast of characters and a hero who doesn't really say all that much but does a lot. You'd think such a movie would have a tough time getting its tone straight.
And yet, this doesn't happen. Ever. And the movie is all the better for it. And I think it comes down to the lead role.
The whole thing is tied together by an incredible performance from Ryan Gosling. His character says fewer than twenty sentences total throughout the entire running time of the movie, but in a way every single sentence counts. And it works perfectly towards the movie's advantage, as the driver is supposed to be isolated from pretty much everything. However, it's tantamount that we see the driver's expressions, and on this Gosling brings a huge amount of subtlety to the character. And later in the movie, it helps when he gets much more involved than someone who was so isolated from the world before: with any other actor in the role, it would have seemed nonsensical, but with the subtlety that Gosling brings to every interaction with the other characters it makes perfect sense.
And the whole thing comes together from there, but everyone else brings their all to it, too. Director Nicolas Winding Refn brings a visual style to the thing that seems to highlight the film's neo-noir tendencies. All the supporting actors bring their work to the table, and they all have a certain magnetism with Gosling that works to the movie's advantage. And the action is extremely tense. While there isn't a lot of it and what there is tends to be short, what there is extremely exciting.
So... what to say? Drive is one of the best movies of the year, no contest. And the whole thing comes together thanks to Ryan Gosling. Seriously, people. Don't miss out on Drive. You will not regret seeing it.
A must-see picture of the year.
This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.