The brilliant opening sequence when three men are in the getaway car escaping from a heist and being driven at reckless speeds through the streets of LA with such a cool determined proficiency that sets the pace for what’s to follow in this wee rather bloody movie.
The Driver … and he is never called by anything by either that or The Boy …. is a professional stunt driver for the movies who occasionally does a few extra ‘jobs’ for his criminal mates on the side. Driver seemingly has no past and we barely find out much of his life, as he is the strong silent type that says little about anything.
He befriends Irene a young woman in his apartment building that lives there with her son whilst her husband Standard is in jail. When he gets released he is blackmailed by a couple of thugs who set him up to do a burglary to pay back the debt they claim he owes them. Driver offers to help by driving the getaway car, and when the robbery goes belly up and Standard gets killed, Driver is pursued by the thugs to retrieve the money that they stole for them.
It all goes wrong ….. and gets very violent … but its hard to give more plot here without it containing spillers.
There are several things that sets this movie way and above from being just yet another car-chase caper. Firstly Ryan Gosling is totally superb as Driver and with very little dialogue throughout he puts in a highly nuanced performance that so sets him head and shoulders above other actors of his generation … he snaffled an Oscar nod for ‘Half Nelson’, and I would be very surprised if this turn here didn’t earn him his second nomination.
Carey Mulligan played Irene who was almost too nice to be mixed up in crime … the camera does love Ms. Mulligan so.
And another major plus was the fact for a change all the supporting roles were well rounded with depth and resonance and gave the very talented cast something to get their teeth into. Particularly funny man Albert Brooks being deadly serous as one of the Crime Bosses, and the delightful Christina Hendricks (from Mad Men) who I failed to recognize at first, and who was a professional criminal.
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (that’s my second Scandinavian director this week) who picked up an award at Cannes for this movie, and he obviously excels in violent ones as another of his earlier ones is Bronson, which has been on my Netflix list far too long.
The cars may go fast, but the movie goes at a slower pace, which adds to its attraction. Definitely one worth watching.
PS Trivia … don’t blink when in the very short scene where a bullet is being removed by Russ Tamblyn who plays the Dr. Where has he been since he was a West Side Story Jet decades ago?
Labels: psychologial thriller