Action thriller gets artsy

Drive Alliance Rating: 18A 95 minutes

Ryan Gosling is the cool star of Drive. By day he’s a stunt driver in the movies, or fixes cars in his friend’s garage. At night he drives getaway cars for burglars. You know he’s cool because he wears leather driving gloves and, like Clint Eastwood in his spaghetti westerns, he has no name, no background and the facial expressions of a fencepost.

Gosling becomes friends with Carey Mulligan’s character, who lives down the hall with her young son. Then when Mulligan’s husband is released from jail he agrees to drive for him for a robbery which goes horribly wrong. Soon Gosling and friends are in trouble with the mob, as represented by nasty Albert Brooks, playing against type as a villain and Ron Perlman.

This movie got a lot of good reviews, but while it has some well-done action scenes and a couple of good driving scenes a lot of it is slow. Sometimes when the main characters are talking they pause so long between their sparse dialogue you’d almost think the film had stopped. There are times when Gosling, normally a very good actor, almost seems in a catatonic trace he takes so long to make a one word reply.

There are also very unpleasant outbursts of bloody violence. To this reviewer it seems the film’s makers are trying to combine an action thriller with an art film, but it mostly doesn’t work. Drive is a disappointment as style triumphs over substance.

Rating: two deer out of five

Next Week on Video

The reviews were terrible but Transformers: Dark of the Moon cleaned up at the box office.

Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.