We meet a reticent and deeply intense young man (played by Ryan Gosling) who loves driving – and he’s good at it. He has several jobs … by day, he’s a garage mechanic – and sometimes he’s a Hollywood stunt driver. He sometimes also works evenings – as a getaway car driver. Although he’s good at that – he’s never been caught – he’s getting nervous about this sideline and seems reluctant to get on the wrong side of the law anymore. He has a fascinating and beautiful neighbour, Irene (by Carey Mulligan), and he can’t help his strong feelings towards her. She is involved in a relationship already and she has a child. They form a tentative friendship, but it promises much more. Irene’s partner returns, but he is involved with some shady characters. Our driver cares so much for Irene that he wants to keep her safe so he decides to help her partner rid himself of his problems so she can have a risk-free life. Our driver starts to sort things out, but then things get a little out of control … can he put the brakes on this?
This is a very different movie and Ryan Gosling here is unlike anything I’ve seen him do before. The dialogue is sparse and the director captures much intent in eyes, facial expressions and gestures. That is very well done. Gosling and Mulligan can both do this very well indeed. It’s the kind of movie you are compelled to keep watching – there is some graphic violence, but it is not overdone. The support provided by Albert Brooks and by Bryan Cranston in an unfamiliar role are also very good. It’s different – but good. Well done.
Made in 2011. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn