A quick review of "Drive" after the jump:
Apologies for the brevity of this review, but I'm currently prepping a lengthy piece on this movie for my college paper and as such don't have a whole lot of excess energy for writing about it on the blog. In short, though, "Drive" is a terrific film: and one driven more by acting than anything else. Ryan Gosling turns in yet another Oscar-worthy performance (is there a better actor currently working?), and Carey Mulligan is equally effective in her role as Irene. The supporting cast is also top-notch.
Nicolas Winding Refn's direction is equally outstanding. The opening sequence is a masterpiece in and of itself. It may bore those looking for high-speed chases, but the tension created during the scene is stunning and the craftsmanship impeccable. The entire film is just amazingly atmospheric: punctuated by bursts of sudden violence that would be over-the-top in a different film but feel right at home in this movie's universe.
My one complaint has to do with the ending. No spoilers here, but for those who've seen the film... I'm not talking about the very end, which is just about perfect. No, I'm talking about a certain confrontation between two of the main characters that takes place a bit earlier. I found it anti-climactic, and while in rare cases that can actually be effective it wasn't here. Still, "Drive" is a magnificently constructed, artful piece of popular entertainment. I've only seen four 2011 films so far (it's been a weak year), but this is easily the best. Well done by all involved.