Fresh from the commercial and critical success of his first-ever romantic comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” Ryan Gosling now returns to the psychological thriller genre with the Cannes Film Festival winner “Drive.”
Winner of the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes, “Drive” will be shown soon exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3 & Trinoma). The film is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and adapted from James Sallis’s 2005 novel of the same name.
In the film, Driver (Gosling) is a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt-driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can’t help falling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac).
“I was really intrigued by the role of Driver because the performance demanded this very complex dramatic counterpoint,” Gosling explains. “On the one hand, he’s really self-contained, really laconic. There’s an economy of movement in the way he carries himself, an economy of words in the way he speaks. He keeps his cards close to his chest and there’s an almost poker-faced inscrutability to his reactions. All this ties into his character because this is the kind of mechanical self-control he achieves in the flow-situation of driving. [Director] Nic kept saying to me, ‘The Driver is half-man, half-machine.’”
“On the other hand,” Gosling continues, “Driver is literally psychotic, you know? A Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver-kind of character. Beneath all of that eerie outward calm, there is this reservoir of raging energy and hair-trigger violence. It’s like when you’re cruising in an automobile and the ride feels so smooth, so stable, so safe—then another car crosses your path. BAM. All that energy, all that mass-times-velocity momentum, is released in a flash of physical violence. And that’s basically the character of Driver. He navigates around most obstacles with some very flawless trick-driving, literally and figuratively escaping without a scratch. But when the moment of impact unexpectedly arrives, it is violent and it physically slams you. The challenge is making the audience feel that tightly-coiled energy when Driver is ticking along as smoothly as a stopwatch.”
“Ryan is a real rarity,” says director Nicolas Winding Refn. “He has the charisma and good looks of a leading man and the gravity of a Method-trained, master class performer. For the role of Driver, the film needed an actor who could convey the explosive violence and emotional loneliness of that lone-wolf character, yet also make his personal transformation through love authentic and believable. Few movie stars have that range. Ryan is one of them.”