Donnie Skuza’s review published on Letterboxd:
I had the pleasure to see Drive in theaters. There's nothing to compare. Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa comes to mind, both original pieces inspired by the times. When I think of 2011, I think of none other than Drive, film of the year, perhaps film of the decade. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel is innovative and comes up with some of Hollywood's best digital work, while at the same time showcasing how to make a movie. Tag team this with Nicolas Winding Refn's direction, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Oscar Issac, Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman—what a cast!
The color palet of Drive is subtle and sometimes not. Right off the bad, we're greeted with a hot pink font straight out of Miami Vice. The nightlife is captured perfectly with digital neon colors all around. Color is important and there's no shortage of perfection from Sigel and the editors. The performances, while some may be so brash as to say they're boring, are unique, and they build up. The plot twists and turns are just as exciting as the car chase scenes.
The soundtrack is incredible! Cliff Martinez creates an aura of synths around every scene. Without him, the film would surely be less enjoyable. It just goes to show how vital a soundtrack is to a film, especially during silent scenes. Sidenote, as soon as I got back from the theater, I immediately bought the soundtrack.
The screenplay isn't anything great, but hey, it's Refn. He admits to cutting lines to preserve silence, which actually makes his scripts interesting and much more realistic. Refn is like a live performer, cutting and switching here and there to freshen up. That's a tactic I'm definitely going to use one day.
I would critique but in this case I find nothing wrong! There's not a thing I would change about Drive. From start to finish, you get what you pay for and then some. Marc Platt is an anomaly producer and if you see that name you know it's going to be a good movie.