I am late to the party on watching Drive. I heard good things on it via a review in Elle Magazine and a few other chirps on the world wide web. However, I was disappointed with the film overall. Ryan Gosling is a great actor but I didn't find his motivation or skills very realistic. There was no backstory for him. I also didn't understand Irene's motivation in staying with her d-bag husband and then, even after he died, declining Driver's offer to move together and start a better life. It didn't seem like she and her son Benicio were tied to the city and obviously she must have felt some attraction to Driver because she reaches to hold his hand in one of the scenes where they are spending time together.
The pacing, lackluster dialog, decent soundtrack and setting in California reminded me of Sofia Coppola's film Somewhere. The pizza shop scene where the three thugs/mobsters are talking about the need to take out Shannon and Driver seemed forced to me as if it was written in a storyboard phase and made sense then, but ended up being unneeded or feeling hoakey. I'm not sure if my objection stems from not believing a pizza shop is the right setting for a meet-up (may I suggest someone's in-home bar?) or feeling the conversation would have taken place on a cell phone and not in person.
Driver, have you never been attracted to or dated another woman? I find it sad and confusing that you became so entangled with Irene and her kiddo that you forgot there are women in the world who do not have husbands with ties to people who will shoot you with a musket or stab you in a parking lot. Driver, do you like being manipulated by Shannon? Did that somehow give you superpowers that turned you from Danica Patrick into Vin Diesel? Driver, what's up with the Scorpion jacket? It's pretty badass, but really: who wears that?
Directors, why was the wallpaper at the hotel (where Blanche got shot and Driver was able to stab a guy with a curtain rod within 2 seconds) on the first floor the same as the wallpaper in Irene's place? Driver, do you have a superhuman ability to get stabbed in vital organs, shake it off then depart in a healed state? Local dry cleaners, were you closed when Driver took his beloved scorpion jacket in, forcing him to wear it blood-splattered for the remainder of the film? Writers, what was with the random invocation of religion by Ron Perlman's character Nino?
Things I liked: Driver's gloves, car chase scenes, some music, Gosling, adorable Benicio, Irene sitting in the hall while the party goes on inside. Many know the lonely feeling when you're surrounded by balloons but something just isn't right. If only the producers looked back at the final cut, realized something wasn't right and kept working towards a more beautiful film.
Feel free to weigh in with things you noticed, liked and disliked about Drive. Thanks!