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“Drive”, Nicolas Winding Refn’s film that launched Ryan Gosling, turns 10. With a first-rate cast – among others, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks and Bryan Cranston – it remains a pearl of cinema to this day. Based on the James Sallis novel of the same name, “Drive” won the Best Director Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Released in US theaters on September 16, 2011, the famous soundtrack was edited by Cliff Martinez.
The protagonist of the story is a worker who works both in a car repair shop and in Hollywood films as a stuntman; at times, he even volunteers to be a driver in the service of bank robbers. His rule is that robbers have exactly five minutes in which to move: if they exceed the allotted time, he is absolutely not responsible for the possible consequences. Despite being a solitary and taciturn character, his personality and his magnetic gaze would be able to upset even the most reckless of clan leaders in Los Angeles (the city where he lives).
The driver, however, also retains a more tender side that emerges especially when he is in the company of his neighbor, Irene.
Prologue: robbers and Los Angeles police
Drive is a film that immediately takes your breath away. The prologue consists of a car chase that sees a police car deployed against an ordinary car, driven by an ordinary Californian citizen. The police are unaware that there is a driver driving the car really unusual driver, shrewd and cold-blooded. A man who, if necessary, can also disguise himself thanks to his jacket that can be worn on both sides, so much so that the game is soon done: if he escapes the police, in fact, no one could know who he really is, thanks to an iron anonymity. This character has the angelic face of Ryan Gosling, perhaps the most “inopportune” actor for a film by Nicholas Winding Refn, nevertheless capable of wearing such a chilling gaze that he deservedly became a Hollywood star.
Subsequently, the opening titles appear, all pink and written in italics: in the background stand out the “shimmering” skyscrapers of Los Angeles, and in the meantime we hear a synthwave song playing which greatly increases the initial pathos.
The definitive consecration for all
“Drive” was the definitive consecration for many of the leading actors, starting with Ryan Gosling himself who made his debut in 2004 with the romantic film “The pages of our life”, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Since then Gosling has not ceased to surprise audiences and critics, collecting extremely successful films such as “Blue Valentine” and “Come un tuono” (both directed by Derek Cianfrance), passing through “Blade Runner 2049” and “La la land”, directed by Denis Villeneuve and Damien Chazelle respectively.
The same can be said of Carey Mulligan, who in 2005 made her debut as Kitty in “Pride and Prejudice”, directed by Joe Wright, and who has recently captivated critics and viewers around the world with her interpretation of “A Promising Woman, ”directed by newcomer Emerald Fennell.
The same applies, of course, to the well-known face of Bryan Cranston, who we remember for having played in unforgettable roles, both in television (Hal in “Malcolm in the middle”, Walter White in “Breaking Bad”) and in cinema (Stan Grossman in “Little Miss Sunshine” and Dalton Trumbo in “The Last Word – The True Story of Dalton Trumbo”).
Scripts read in Refn’s living room
Expressing a judgment on such an emblematic film is not easy. Winding Refn’s work is characterized by an apparent “calm”, broken by a few brief explosions of bullets or by splatters of blood and various beatings. In each shot there is a bit of light and a bit of shadow, an emblematic metaphor of the ambiguity of all human beings, who are therefore not only good or only bad. Below, the excerpt from an interview with Bryan Cranston who, in “Drive”, played the role of Shannon, the head of the garage where the anonymous driver works.
“When I first read” Drive “, Shannon’s role was almost like Burges Meredith’s in” Rocky, “while there is still a bit of that element of the mentor-protected relationship with my character and the driver. (…) Nicolas was incredible in his collaboration, in fact he insisted on making it yours [il personaggio]. So, we all gathered in his living room and talked about it and, because of that opening, you go home and start daydreaming about the character: I would wake up in the morning and I had a couple of other ideas that I wanted to present “.
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