Drive. George Clooney took his run at McQueen in last years’ dull, arty and ridiculous The American. At least Clooney was old enough to play a weathered man-with- no-name zombie. This year, it is Ryan Gosling’s turn in Drive. Dull, arty and ridiculous, the critics are wowed with the addition of a grating soundtrack, gratuitous and utterly pointless violence, and Gosling, who has no discernible personality or reason to be. You see, he drives. For a minute, one wonders if he is the lethal, charmless version of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.
No such luck. Add plot touches that make no sense. For example, professional killer stalking you in an elevator will actually allow you to give your gal a loving, long kiss rather than stab you in the back while you’re distracted; he’ll even wait so you can better stomp his head into a bloody pulp. And you can actually chase a career criminal onto the beach and he will inexplicably be unarmed and then he’ll try and escape — by sea. Add scenes chosen for the picturesque, Brian Cranston as the old codger who gets you in deep, and Albert Brooks as your offbeat, inspired heavy, and you have an instant classic – soulless, silly and lazy.
I love small crime movies, even moody and elegant ones like Layer Cake or The Limey or The Way of the Gun or Sexy Beast.
Drive isn’t a third of any of those films. It opens with promise, looks okay at times and then, wholly disappoints.