Now that Ryan Gosling has repositioned himself in the national consciousness as a fleet-footed musical entertainer (in La La Land), let’s not forget the grit and violence that established him as a major star in Drive. My favourite film of 2011, Nicolas Winding Refn’s super-stylised LA crime tale delivered a defining role to the gifted, moody and annoyingly sexy movie natural. Here, he’s the enigmatically nameless driver-for-hire, whose burgeoning platonic attachment to neighbour Carey Mulligan puts everyone in danger when he drives the getaway car for a bungled heist. Refn’s artful direction brilliantly contrasts Drive’s grubby world of diners, motels and strip clubs with the endless possibilities of the Pacific coast. It’s all dazzlingly cool and dangerous, and enhanced by a sizzling soundtrack from Cliff Martinez, but beware, you’ll need a strong stomach for the scene in the lift, where no soft-shoeing takes place.
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