Unoriginal yet ultra-stylish neo-noir thriller with Ryan Gosling Reviews

Nicolas Winding Refn’s ultra-stylish neo-noir may be fine as a flashy genre piece, but originality is not its selling point. The film is about a garage mechanic and occasional Hollywood stunt driver (Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver, and is essentially a remake or remix of Walter Hill’s The Driver and Michael Mann’s Thief, with extra snippets of ultra-violence (noisily stomped-in skulls, stabbings and razor-slashings) and sentimentality (a drippy unfulfilled relationship with two-expression romantic interest Carey Mulligan) tossed in for contemporary audiences.

Our existentialist hero (all smiling silence and gently murmured murderous threats) somewhat implausibly decides to help out his beloved’s hubby and, immediately and utterly predictably, finds himself up to his eyes in a tangled web of deadly vengeance, deceit and face-saving, the likes of which we’ve seen countless times before.

The main problem with the film is that it is so utterly derivative of movies rather than life: the clumsy dialogue, the visuals, the characterisation, the entire plot feel so over-familiar that nothing, however unlikely, ever comes as a surprise. There are moments when the nocturnal shots of Los Angeles bring to mind superior crime fare, but there’s no substance to all the flash.

As for any emotional heft regarding the protagonist’s feelings for Mulligan’s simpering heroine, forget it: all the smiling stares meant to convey their growing interest in one another soon become tiresome, so that his self-sacrifice feels futile and meaningless.

By Geoff Andrew
Time Out Dubai,


  • Duration: 100
  • Released: Thu, 15 Sep
  • Classification: 18+
  • Language: English
  • Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Kaden Leos, Jeff Wolfe, James Biberi

User reviews:

Posted by: David Kirkland on 30 Sep ' 11 at 04:41

This timeout review is nonsense and un cultured! Drive is an Art house hyper realised action film with incredible and vision and a soundtrack so fresh It's easily one of the best films I've seen in a long time. It's a patient but taut thriller and one that leaves a lasting impression and one worth writing about. With less twists then SZR, the director takes you on a journey you had no idea you even wanted to go on. But the biggest twist of all was to change pace of what could so easily have been a predictable getaway driver film, was the genius to cast Ryan Gosling instead of a more predictable meat headed fuel charged brute of an actor. There is nothing predictable about this film and highly original. With no thanks to timeout, this is quickly becoming a cult classic and one film I'm very glad not to have missed at the cinema.

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