Drive, Blu-ray (2012)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Studio: Film District/Sony Pictures 39231 [1/31/12]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p HD
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Extras: I Drive: The Driver, Driver and Irene: The Relationship, Under the Hood: Story, Cut to the Chase: Stunts, Interview with Refn, BD Live, UltraViolet system
Length: 100 minutes
The Danish director has fashioned a gutsy, extremely violent look back at 1980s film noir with the accent on cars and dangerous driving. The main character, who seems almost autistic in his lack of emotion or even speech, is a part-time stunt driver for the movies, but occasionally also works as a getaway driver for criminals, as the opening scene shows. He is in addition a mechanic in a small garage.
He falls for his next-door neighbor, whose husband is in prison, but when the husband returns things get complicated. But she’s not a femme fatale and they don’t become intimate. Seeing that the woman and her young son will suffer if he doesn’t help the husband steal some money to pay off dangerous underworld criminals, he arranges a pawnshop heist which goes terribly wrong. He even tries to return the cash that was stolen but learns that won’t be enough—his life and that of the woman and child are in danger and he has to save himself. Albert Brooks has an unexpected stint as one of the deadly heavies, and Ron Perlman is his usual oversize threatening self. The bloody scenes may cause some viewers to leave the theater or turn off the movie—be warned. Drive got a huge rave from many reviewers; now that I’ve seen it I’m frankly not quite sure why.
There are many scenes in relative darkness but the black levels of the rich-looking transfer are superb and you can see many details usually lost. I didn’t like the beat-heavy music but the surround soundtrack certainly supported the images well. Sometimes I wanted to understand more of the police radio chatter but perhaps that wasn’t important to advancing the story. There were more extras than I was interested in seeing, but some may find them worth viewing.
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.