Verdict: 3/5

Psychotic violence and old vendettas play out in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive.  Clever and sexy at times and stuffed full of 80s references and taut action, Drive is powerfully scripted, but sometimes lacks momentum and wilts under the film’s running time.

Ryan Gosling stars as the character Driver, a Hollywood stunt driver by day and criminal getaway driver by night who possesses a still persona with little speech or visible emotion. Part of the criminal underworld, Driver collides with nasty, ego-inflated, grabby characters and conversely with the softly innocent and vulnerable Irene (played by Carey Mulligan.)  Driver represents the criminal anti-hero; protective, yet chillingly remorseless in his vicious pay backs, which drew gasps from the cinema audience.  This element of shocking and graphic violence worked, despite its seemingly gratuitous nature (watch out for the lift scene.)

Bryan Cranston, as Shannon, was great as the ageing father figure and friend to Driver and you develop a sympathy and a liking for the his character, in spite of the company he keeps and his role within the corrupt criminal underworld.

Am action film more intelligent than the usual fodder, Drive is slow going, but this is countered with moments of intensity from well- scripted and acted scenes.  My main criticism is that the film could have been condensed in order to allow for a more dramatic, yet still artistically effective movie; saying this, however Drive is certainly worth a watch.