Despite the violent scenes, all appropriate, and slow first half, all necessary, this is a must see movie. Why? Driver (Ryan Gosling) single-handedly took down the bad guys! with no remorse, no apparent fear, no plans, but just his justice for they had hurt the two people he cared.
A very quiet, emotionless, stuntman driver works in a garage during the day, and drives bandits out of a jam at night (tiny bit like Transporter (2002) without fancy BMWs). All of these arranged by his daytime boss, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), who ties to the mob boss, Bernie Ross (Albert Brooks).
Life is fine, he works at a movie’s gig, also arranged by Shannon, that involves rolling cop’s car, and meets Irene(Carey Mulligan) on the elevator one day, and subsequently with her son, Benicio(Kaden Leos) at parking lot of a supermarket, where she has car problem.
“That dangerous!”, says Irene, while they are up at her apartment knowing a little bit more about what Driver does for life. I mention this, because that is a beautiful scene with clear undertone with their glances, which pretty much lay ahead for us what are coming.
Irene’s husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), released from prison, but is still in a lot of troubles. Driver helps out likely because of Benicio, with whom he has formed sort of an attachment, and that’s when it gets him or us into the second half of the movie, where the violence begins.
Great direction and cinematography. The backdrops of his crimes make it relevant and almost poetic; in other words, the director (Nicolas Winding Refn) didn’t put violence in for the sake of getting attention. Yes, head got blown-off, head got smashed in by boot, fork in the eye, I read those before watching. In fact, they made me hesitant to watch the film, cause I hate senseless violence. What a surprise! I am glad I watched it.
Yes, poetic scenes:
1) Driver holding Irene’s hand (in slow motion, let’s say 12fps, so not that slooooooow) in elevator, moving her behind him and kisses her on lips first time. Regular frame speed now, grab guy also in elevator, smash him against panel, guy falls, beating and stomping, till head on guy no more. Elevator doors open, Irene steps out and backs farther into parking lot (slow-mo) eyes fix on Driver, Driver’s fix on Irene. (Mind-bubble) Monster!? I luv u!? Hell no!?
2)Driver finally located Cook (James Biberi) in some sort of backstage with half-naked women around. Cook shoulder-locked on floor, Driver with hammer in hand, none of the girls cares.
Life catches up eventually. Everything filters back up to mob boss Bernie. Finale is too beautiful to give it away. WATCH!
Warning: beware of the Scorpio! and what happens to the deal it makes with the frog crossing the river!
No Oscar (2102) nominations for Ryan Gosling nor in directing for Nicolas Winding Refn. That’s too bad! At least one nomination in sound editing. I like the music in this film, again beautiful and relevant.
- Russell Crowe Calls “Bullsh*t” On Ryan Gosling & Albert Brooks Not Being Nominated For Oscars (perezhilton.com)