So I went to see what is being heralded by many as the "movie of the year" because despite having only a mild interest in seeing it, I accepted the word of my fellow man as truth, and expected to be blown away. While there's no arguing that Drive is a decent movie, it's certainly not the best I've seen this year, not even in my top 10, and once again the hype engine has failed me. I can only imagine that the people who are calling this the year's best either don't get out to the movies very much, or simply have far different taste than I do. Probably the latter.
As a matter of fact I found Drive to be a bit of a bore. If you read many of my reviews here, they follow a pretty basic formula for the most part, and this second paragraph is where I talk about the plot. Well, here's the plot to Drive: A driver for hire who drives getaway cars for criminals by night and works in a garage/does stunt driving for movies by day falls in love with his neighbor and her young son. Things are going swimmingly for them until the child's father is released from prison and gets them stirred up into all kinds of trouble when he returns to his criminal ways. That's it, the end. Trust me that may sound vague, but that's literally all there is to it.
Here are my main problems with Drive, aside from the fact that it's fairly boring, I can't stand movies with lead characters like this. The loner, tough guy, ex-whatever the fuck, with a mysterious past, who adheres to an extremely strict code of conduct when it comes to handling his business all of a sudden completely changes how he's apparently done things for years for some ridiculous reason or another (suddenly falling for a neighbor with a small child in this case) and gets himself into a world of shit. The guy in this movie even ends up risking his life along with absolutely everything else to make sure that this woman and her child are safe from all the bad guys. Would this guy really be stupid enough to get involved in something like this?
Also, I've never seen Ryan Gosling in anything before, and after his performance here, I won't be going out of my way to see him again. I suppose he was attempting to play a quiet, mysterious badass type, but to me he just looked and sounded silly, save for one or two scenes after the shit hits the fan toward the end. I absolutely hated him for the first hour or so. Basiscally, he annoyingly played an annoying character, not a good combination for me. Lastly, it's a movie called "Drive" and there ain't a whole lotta driving going on here. There's a pretty good scene at the beginning, where he drives getaway from a heist, then a whole lot of no driving from then on. There's more driving in movies that aren't particularly about any sort of driving than there is in Drive. I'm not a car enthusiast in the least, but still I enjoy the occasional chase sequence, like in Death Proof or Gone in 60 Seconds. Those movies promised driving and delivered, Drive doesn't.
What Drive does manage to do well is some gratuitous violence. There's a bit of gunplay, some knife wounds, etc. I have to admit I was a bit shocked at the graphic brutality, although sadly it was much too little, much too late. By the time it got to the good stuff I couldn't wait for the movie to be over. The story also picks up a little when everything goes down at the end, but just when it seemed like things were going to be getting really interesting, the credits started rollling. The ending is about as anti-climactic as endings come.
There are obviously people who will disagree with me about this one, and I suppose people who enjoy movies like "The Town" may really dig Drive. You really, really don't want to get me started on The Town, trust me. But as for me, I was extremely bored and just when it started to get good it was over. Big, big disappointment here.