All Things: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cannes 2011 Review: Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive | Film School Rejects
As the films come to a close, patterns tend to emerge. This year, for instance, there has been a definite focus on the cinema of abuse, of nostalgia and on auteur-driven films, but the most engaging and intriguing mini-pattern for me is the cinema of misdirection, i.e. films that suggest they are one thing and ultimately offer something entirely different by their end.
Unlike Woody Allenís Midnight in Paris, and The Skin I Live In and even to a lesser extent Hara-Kiri, DriveĎs directional swerve is a tonal one, rather than a thematic or material one. What at the outset looks like an indie love story, with background driving sub-plots, swerves wildly onto a more ragged road.
Ryan Gosling (Cannesí new darling after this and last yearís mesmerizing Blue Valentine) stars as a stunt-driver/mechanic by day, who moonlights as a getaway driver who is as solitary as Leon, and as effortlessly cool and detached as Bullitt. This driverís world is flipped when he meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, who looks stunning), and is immediately floored by her (and her son Benicio). Problem is, Irene has an ex-con husband (Standard, played by Oscar Isaac) who they discover has been granted early release, and doesnít take too kindly to the driver muscling in on his family. When the driver discovers Standard beaten and bloody in the car park, he offers his services to pull off the one last job that will see the ex-criminal able to get out and go straight. Only things arenít quite that simple, as the film descends into a chaotic, ultra-violent thrill ride, with chicane after chicane of swerves.
And by Albert Brooksís afro, itís good!