Nicolas Winding Refn knows how to make a cool movie, and this is definitely a cool movie. With stunt drivers, car chases, gun battles and gangsters you may expect cliched action fare, by Refn’s too skilled to let this happen. Drive is so wonderfully filmed, with such stylish cinematography and music, that it is impossible not to ogle the screen. Proof that an action film can be much more visually striking without relying on CGI. The ultra violence also feels, within the context, original and shocking – even if it did cause a few people to storm out of the cinema.
The influence of Michael Mann (before he got boring) is clearly evident, both in the style and the lack of characterisation. Despite being well acted, the romance between Carey Mulligan and Ryan Goslin feels flat, and the gangsters never rise above cliché. Fortunately, when the ride is this good, these are just minor quibbles. Drive has already become an instant cult classic, and is worth seeing if you like your action movies with a bit more art.