'Drive': What the Critics Are Saying

9:31 AM PST 09/16/2011 by Rebecca Ford
FilmDistrict

One called the violence "unsettling," while another praised the "wonderfully assembled cast."

Drive, which opens in theaters Friday, is Nicolas Winding Refn’s artsy crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway car driver.

The film, which was shown at Cannes 2011, has been receiving overall favorable reviews, often praised for cool, '80s style and depiction of Los Angeles. Co-starring Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks, the film’s cast has also received high notes.

“It’s a fun, if not exhilarating, ride, one sped along with the help of a wonderfully assembled cast,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy.

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“The downtime never threatens to become dull, not with this cast nor with Refn’s lively style and the wildly eclectic soundtrack that’s embedded in techno music but extends well beyond it,” wrote McCarthy.

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Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times commented on the film's “disturbing violence.” “Drive doesn't spend a lot of time on mayhem, but what does get put on screen is intense, unsettling and increasingly grotesque and graphic as the film goes on,” he wrote.

“Making fine use of Los Angeles locations, particularly the lonely downtown streets around the L.A. River, Drive has a slick, highly romanticized pastel look calculated to win friends and influence people,” Turan wrote.

“Refn punctuates his dreamlike, almost hypnotic pacing with sudden, bloody blasts of violence,” wrote The AP’s Christy Lemire.

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“It oozes sleek `80s style, from its hot-pink titles to its electronic soundtrack to the silk racing jacket with a scorpion on the back that the Driver wears everywhere,” she wrote.

Drive is somber, slick and earnest, and also a prisoner of its own emptiness, substituting moods for emotions and borrowed style for real audacity,” wrote The New York Times’ A.O. Scott.

“This is not to say that the movie is bad — as I have suggested, the skill and polish are hard to dispute — but rather that it is, for all its bravado, timid and conventional,” Scott continued.
 

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