Drive (USA, 2011)
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks
Few directors have been able to straddle art-house and exploitation as ably as Nicolas Winding Refn. He was raised on the French nouvelle vague, but was inspired to become a filmmaker after seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. His films are often rooted in generic convention but are lofty in their ambitions and adventurous in their approach to characters. With Drive he has cemented his status as one of Europe's coolest directors, mixing art-house and neo-noir to create a future classic.
A Royal Affair two months ago, I talked about how the central romantic conflict at the film reflected the Arthurian legends, specifically how the fatal affair between Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere led to the downfall of both Arthur and his kingdom. While Drive isn't so bold as to suggest that The Driver's attraction to Irene will doom both them and their world to destruction, their relationship is similar in that it shakes their world to its foundations. Irene's devotion to her husband is no longer as strong or unconditional, while The Driver's abstaining from attachment - his chastity, if you like - is brought into question by his strong desire to protect her.
The Usual Suspects to make even the grimiest detail seem perversely pleasing. Refn's compositions are excellent, particularly during the lift scene and the few incidences of actual driving.
Mad Max trilogy in allowing them to score the driving sequences without the interference of 'real music'.
Verdict: A cool future classic