‘Drive’: The Unexpected Urban Western

quickly established itself as a critical success, with the film’s director, Nicolas Winding Refn, receiving the Best Director award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and Roger Ebert heralding the film upon its September release last year as having “respect for knowledgeable moviegoers.”1 Drive’s critical acclaim could be attributed to a number of factors, but I feel that its status as a future “It” film is due to a combination of the mythology explored in the narrative, the inclusion of compelling and unexpected casting choices, and Refn’s reinforcement of the film’s central themes through the skillful manipulation of formal style elements (including the cinematography, score, production design, and costume design).

Drive centers on a stunt/getaway driver (Ryan Gosling) who wrestles with his own loneliness and isolation in the middle of his quest to protect his neighbor and budding love interest, Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her son from sadistic crime boss Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) after a heist gone wrong. Continue reading “‘Drive’: The Unexpected Urban Western” »