Drive ★★★★

A plaintive action drama adorned with '80s-centric style, Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" is a striking piece of work. Mixing genres but keeping a consistent tone, the film pops with violence even as it unfolds with a thoughtful grace.

Starring Ryan Gosling as a stuntman who supplements his career by driving fast cars for criminal operations, the narrative follows Gosling's protagonist as he becomes enamored with a married woman and her young son. Relationships lead to the breakdown of the driver's operation, and his once controlled world crumbles around him.

The narrative provides a robust combination of gangland drama and human beats. Motivations are seedy and criminal, but the players peopling the story fuel a certain melancholy tone that grants the work a refreshing sense of self.

Refn exploits the narrative's violent moments for shock value but juxtaposes them with sequences that breathe with near elegiac weight. Score, editing, shot selection, and color combine for a sleek yet rumbling style. Refn emulates a mid-1980s Michael Mann, reveling in an aesthetic that is part throwback, part statement.

"Drive" is a compelling, sometimes stunning blends of story types and story beats. It is a stirring collision of action speed, dramatic lament, and frosty heart. Dressed in Refn's particular style, the film offers an exciting, satisfying experience.

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