DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Robert Munro

Read Owen Van Spall's film review of Drive

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited DVD release of the year so far, Drive may not have found many friends amongst Academy voters, but its arrival is sure to delight cinema lovers everywhere.

Ryan Gosling is The Driver. And a good one at that. He provides expertise as a wheel man for criminals seeking a quick escape and also gets behind the wheel as a stunt driver for the movies. When he's not doing either of those he works at a garage with likeable low-life Shannon (Bryan Cranston). When not working on cars at the garage he sits at a desk at home looking through a magnifying glass at bits of car. The man likes his automobiles.

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His is a quiet existence. Things are simple, clean, neat. The cold detachment he's worked so hard to maintain will soon melt away however, as he falls for neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). Irene has baggage in the form of newly paroled husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). Subsequently The Driver becomes embroiled in the kind of dirty business he's been determined to avoid.

Nicholas Winding Refn and screenwriter Hossein Amini have produced a truly wonderful film. That Drive is a cool, stylish and violent film there is no doubt. But, there's more to it than slick fisticuffs. Gosling puts in a detailed performance which is charming and terrifying in equal measure - sometimes in the same shot. It's a performance of such stillness and silence that when he moves you watch; when he speaks you listen.

Albert Brooks pleasantly surprises in his role as Bernie Rose, a mobster and all- round nasty piece of work. Carey Mulligan once again provides evidence of her growing maturity as a performer as the woman for whom The Driver falls - despite knowing better. Refn's camera is rarely still while the actors usually are. The effect is that the film feels like falling in a dream. Slowly and inexorably tumbling towards a rather unpleasant and unavoidable end. The destination may be undesirable but at least the music is throbbing and LA's lights are twinkling. Never mind the destination. It's all about the ride.

While the film itself is a delight, there isn't much more to be excited about in the release. There's a Q&A with enigmatic director Nicolas Winding Refn, which runs for about 40 minutes. It's engaging and entertaining enough, but not a whole lot more is revealed that hasn't already been gleaned from previous interviews. Other than that there are bog standard picture galleries, a tv spot and the trailer. The film deserves better accompaniments.

Reviewed on: 28 Jan 2012
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A stuntman who moonlights as a wheelman finds he is the target of a hit.
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Product Code: B005VP82KO

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.33:1

Extras: Q&A with director Nicolas Winding Refn

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