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.
The film is also marred by plot touches that make no sense. For example, a professional killer stalking Gosling in an elevator allows him to give his gal a loving, long kiss, during which he could have stabbed Gosling in the back. As a result of his inexplicably polite waiting, he gets his head stomped into a bloody pulp. Later, Gosling chases a career criminal onto the beach, said criminal being strangely unarmed, and then, said criminal attempts to escape — by sea.
Mix in scenes chosen for the picturesque, Brian Cranston phoning it in as the old codger who gets Gosling in too deep, and Albert Brooks as an offbeat heavy, and you have an instant classic – soulless, silly and lazy.
I love small crime movies, particularly 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.