|Gosling is another enigmatic lead in Refn's latest.|
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Produced by Lene Børglum, Sidonie Dumas and Vincent Maraval
Written by Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Gordon Brown, Tom Burke, Vithaya Pansringarm, Byron Gibson and Sahajak Boonthanakit
Drive was one of the best films I saw in 2011. It had a fascinating style, an entrancing soundtrack, and an impressive cast. Nicolas Winding Refn became a director to watch, but his latest film doesn't quite match the success of his last one. Set in the criminal underworld in Bangkok, this film follows Julian (Gosling), a successful drug smuggler, in his quest for revenge. When his brother (Burke) is killed, and his mother (Scott Thomas) shows up afterwards, he tracks down the killer (Pansringarm). Meanwhile, the killer has his own problems to deal with.
Refn sets everything up well, delivering another brutal, gorgeous fever dream. The style is flawless, and the scenes are perfectly executed. However, there isn't much going on them, which complicates the pacing. Although the story feels cohesive, there is something amiss. This could have been a great film, but it comes off as a flat, pointless movie with an abundance of stylish flare. Everything has been carefully assembled, yet the style renders this particular narrative almost empty. Still, it somehow works. The performances are fine, the cinematography is outstanding, the score is an atmospheric delight, and the action is well-staged. Additional viewings are a must, as I could see this becoming one of my favorite films by the end of the year. It has everything it should, yet it feels incomplete in its enigmatic succinctness. At the moment, it remains a very good film, even if it didn't win me over completely.
Oscar Potential: None (Best Cinematography and Best Original Score would be amazing nominations, but that won't happen.)