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Drive (Blu-ray Review)

8 Feb, 2012 By: Billy Gil

Sony Pictures
Box Office $35.04 million
$30.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong brutal bloody violence, language and some nudity.
Stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks.

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive takes all the clichés about Hollywood car movies and spins them off a ravine.

Within the first minutes of Drive, we’re whisked away into the life of “Driver,” brilliantly played by Ryan Gosling, whose track record (The Notebook aside), versatility and assured coolness is starting to make him seem like our generation’s Pacino. Stone-faced Gosling puts us into the driver’s seat of a getaway driver with an unknown past and an uncertain future, stealthily avoiding cops in downtown L.A. like some Grand Theft Auto character.

Driver’s seeming lack of emotion and connection to the outside world, save for a fatherly mechanic (always-welcome Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad”) who lands him the getaway jobs, makes him an ideal candidate for the unknown man leaving the scene. Yet a beautiful neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan, seemingly everywhere these days and with good reason), with a son — and a husband in jail — cracks her way into Driver’s heart, ruining his scheme of never getting attached in order to get the job done.

Refn has a way with subtlety — hardly a word is uttered between Driver and Irene, relying on implied emotion, driven by the actor’s strong work. This could make some viewers batty; others, like myself, sick both of dumb-headed car chase thrillers and sentimental crap (the latter of which Oscar ate up in droves this year) will find Drive’s tension and unpredictability utterly engrossing.

The featurettes illuminate just enough of the goings-on behind Drive without giving too much away — elusiveness is part of this film’s charm, and I would have hated to see deleted scenes on something like this. The coolest part about the Blu-ray is that you can skip right to those pulse-pounding chase scenes upon second or third viewing using Blu-ray’s bookmark functionality, not to mention that you can stream the movie online and share with a few friends via UltraViolet.

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