A man at the wheel

You may not have heard of director Nicolas Winding Refn, but after seeing Drive you certainly won’t forget him.

Refn establishes himself as a director to remember come Oscar season for obvious reasons, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet, after all, in 2007 it seemed as if the script adapted from James Sallis’ novel would never reach the big screen.

The names of actor Hugh Jackman and director Neil Marshall circulated the movie, but eventually both parties passed on the project because negotiations were fruitless.

Welcome Ryan Gosling, a fresh and creative young actor, who hand-picked Refn to sit atop the director’s throne. Four years later, we see the result: a true motion-picture classic bound to leave you entertained, if not perplexed.

Drive stars Ryan Gosling, who portrays a mysterious car repairman.

Doubling as a Hollywood stuntman, he also works as a getaway driver for small-time heists in Los Angeles. In an effort to rid a friend’s family of its crime related troubles, he agrees to a riskier, albeit more suspicious job that inevitably is compromised.

Consequently, an imposing local crime boss who seeks to infringe on Gosling’s quintessentially innocent and quiet existence thrusts him and those near to him into a battle for survival.

This is a film that introduces viewers to a whole new realm of surrealism; as viewers become induced into a hallucinatory exploration of the human psyche.

In Drive, Refn conveys that this exploration is what provokes one to contemplate whether it is possible to exist free from external pressures.

Or, is it inherent in human nature for us to abandon our own morals and values in pursuit of aiding someone regardless of the extent these actions may entail?

There is a scene in the film where we the audience are invited to accompany Gosling and Irene (Carey Mulligan) along with Irene’s son, Benicio, on an almost divine voyage down a strip of terrain beneath the bridges on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It is during this scene that Refn’s cinematic magic most truly shines, and we see elements of the seamless whole that he’s created in Drive.

The sunsets, setting the precedent for a celestial atmosphere for the scene, while the peaceful musical score of “A Real Hero” (ft. Electric Youth)” performed by College harmonizes the idea in our mind that maybe there are some actual heroes in the world, just as Refn intended.

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