It’s been a very long time since I’ve done an actual movie review so please excuse me if I’m a little rusty.
As the opening song states, there’s something inside of Driver which is hard to explain. A lot of mystery and an intense emotional divide within his compassion that splits between extreme violence and a sweet love makes up what is Driver, played by Ryan Gosling. His name and past are void from the film, his inner workings complicated and intricate. But this is vaguely true of all of the characters in this high speed drama.
The opening twenty minutes Gosling doesn’t even speak. He’s the driver of a get away car for a pair of robbers. The pace is perfect, the music apropos and the camera angles spot on. The movie quickly progresses from this to a combination of a violent thriller and a love story. Driver lives in LA, his next door neighbor a mother (Carey Mulligan) whose husband is in prison. Their romance quickly progresses as he helps out around the house, growing close to her son. As fate would have it though, the husband returns. While Driver does make amends with the husband, he quickly gets wrapped up in a crime ring in order to try to help the family. Everything goes wrong.
The movie progresses from there. The film is extremely violent in a no bullcrap kind of way–the bad guys feel no remorse and aren’t screwing around when it comes to their kills, which I find quite refreshing. In addition to Gosling, who is fantastic as a stoic and yet distantly sad man, Albert Brooks plays a gangster, dead straight, and is perfect. He’s still Brooks, but there’s a subtle change in his demeanor and mannerisms that evolve him from the funny man to an asshole gangster, out to make a profit. In addition, Bryan Cranston perfectly plays the owner of a garage who had previously been involved in the crime circle. Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) does a great job playing a role completely different from that which she plays on Mad Men.
The film moves quickly and with purpose. The emotions are real and to the point. The realizations throughout are devastating, and the music, which is slightly reminiscent of that from the ’80s, some how perfectly contrasts the modern feel of the film to bring out the emotional tensions.