In the neo noir-ish Drive, Ryan Gosling plays a nameless stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver who gets into a little trouble — but right off the bat, there are two things worth pointing out:
1.) An awesome font on the movie poster which echoes that of the “Swatch dogs and Diet Coke heads” font of 1988′s Heathers:
2.) The totally bitchin’ soundtrack of 21st century retro-but-not, new wave SXSW-worthy artists like Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx, Chromatics, Desire, College, Electric Youth, as well as movie music maestros Riz Ortolani and Cliff Martinez. It gives the music a Risky Business vibe — but more menacingly eerie and less sexy (there is no sex on a train scene…sorry).
Besides that, director (and Gosling’s number one bro) Nicolas Refn and screenwriter Hossein Amini translate James Sallis‘s book into a morally ambiguous cinematic experience full of tense car chases, shady criminals and delicious betrayal. Also, there’s a bunch of brains being blown out and a myriad of blood spattering.
The entire cast is pretty high in terms of celeb wattage. AMC denizens Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) pop up as an earnest mechanic and a damaged trashy city girl respectively. Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman bestow us with their presence as sleazy guys who are up to no good. And Carey Mulligan gives some middle-class cuteness as the love interest.
Then there’s Ryan Gosling.
After leaving the theater, I was thoroughly moved by the movie because I didn’t know what to think of it. It was cryptic enough, but not pretentious. It prodded at my brain and gave me enough violence to satisfy me. It was a delicious bite of cinema that makes me feel like I am watching cinema — then there’s something I like to call the “Gosling Effect.”
I have come to the conclusion that anything Ryan Gosling touches is automatically good because of his high level of swagger. You could argue that this started with The Notebook. Hell, you can even go as far back as his mini-swag days in The Mickey Mouse Club, but he didn’t officially start his “Tour of Swagger” until this year’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. As opposed to his lauded roles in more indie-minded fare Blue Valentine and All Good Things, Crazy, Stupid, Love was a movie made for the masses; thus starting his “Tour of Swagger”.
This tour continued strong off the screen when he broke up that fight on the street in New York, but with Drive his “Tour of Swagger” took a confident stride. Anything and everything about his mere presence on screen had nothing but swagger thus making this movie one of his most swag-worthy on his tour.
It goes without saying that his job as a stunt car/getaway driver for hire has swag written all over it — but it’s more about the details. For instance, the gloves he wears whilst driving have swag:
His satin jacket is also a token of his swaggerosity. On another person, it would look ridiculous and obnoxiously hipster-like.
…bonus swag points for the embroidered Scorpion on the back:
Other moments of wardrobe swaggerness occur with Gosling’s denim jacket as well as a toothpick — which he frequently has in his mouth throughout the movie. He is an actualized version of the lyrics from Kanye’s lyrics in Beyonce’s song, “Party”. He has the swag sauce and he’s dripping swagu:
In addition to being a stunt car driver, he works as a brooding mechanic during the day:
…and only Gosling can wear a filthy shirt and bust a mack on Carey Mulligan and still get some play:
Gosling has an endless supply of swagger — which means his tour won’t end here. Ides of March may be the big finale, but he still has time to get caught on video breaking up another fight or delivering a baby on the floor of McDonald’s.
Until then, Drive has enough swagger to satisfy.
Drive opens in theaters September 16.