Drive [Blu-Ray] Nicolas Winding Refn

Drive [Blu-Ray] Nicolas Winding Refn
After winning critical accolades and a Best Director statue at Cannes, there was an unexpected critical backlash against Drive when it was released in the fall. Though a minority opinion, many claimed the film was just empty style. Well, it is, but in a thriller, that's all you need. Ryan Gosling stars as a stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for L.A.'s seedy underbelly in a minimalist thriller that finds its tone somewhere between Jean-Pierre Melville's arty crime dramas and early Walter Hill models of narrative efficiency like Driver (which is an obvious influence based on title alone). The characters are more archetypes than people and nothing about the film feels real, but when shot through Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn's hypnotically weirdo visual style and punctuated by unexpected blasts of ultra-violence that make Gosling look like a psychotic killer, it's practically impossible to tear your eyes from the screen. Is it a show-off movie? Absolutely, but a good one that's well worth watching, provided you don't expect more than stylized entertainment. Combine that with a brilliant turn from comedian Albert Brooks as a bloodthirsty gangster with a love of puncturing people with pointy objects and you've got the best thriller of 2011. It isn't a masterpiece, but it's well worth a white-knuckle night at the movies. The shiny new Blu-Ray disc shows off the colorblind director's eccentric color scheme with a pretty digital sheen so impressive that if you've got the necessary machinery, it's not even worth considering buying the DVD. In terms of special features, there are a handful of disposable short featurettes, with the cast and producers discussing the importance of Drive and what a pleasure it was to make. The 25-minute interview with director Refn is much better, featuring a nice mix of his patented insights and nut-ball proclamations. Apparently he considers this, Bronson and Valhalla Rising a trilogy, for reasons known only to himself. Not sure how that's the case, but rest assured you don't need to see those to appreciate the high-speed bloody awesomeness of Drive. (Alliance)