As a director from Denmark Nicolas Winding Refn had achieved cult success with his debut film Pusher in 1996 which spawned two sequels before bringing Tom Hardy to the world’s attention in the title role of his 2008 film ‘Bronson’. Violence and the violence that some men do was by now something of a signature of his work and his 2011 film ‘Drive’ would continue his use of some excrutiating on screen violence and bring another actor to the world’s attention ; Ryan Gosling. The actor had been around for quite some years never really getting the break out role but Drive would change all that.
Here he played a nameless Hollywood stuntman and mechanic on the side a best-in-the-business getaway driver with a strict professional code, but his loner lifestyle is turned upside down when he falls for his neighbour Irene. With her ex-con husband owing protection money, she’s sucked into the dangerous criminal underworld and there’s only one person that can her save her… the driver.
Playing the neighbour Irene was Carey Mulligan who had been in a load of TV series but was now making an impact in film notably in ‘An Education’ which had earned her first Oscar nomination. Following films for Michael Mann and Oliver Stone she would now star opposite Gosling. Add to this Bryan Cranston as a simpering villain always looking for the next job, Albert Brooks as a mob boss antagonized by his criminal partner Ron Perlman and in smaller roles were Oscar Isaac and Christina Hendricks in what would be a blistering film with the most brutal of violence and stunning getaway chases all in one super slick and glossy thriller.
But Refn ‘s is gleefully and provocatively brutal with his on screen violence perhaps even more so than Tarantino in scenes on a par with that seen in S Craig Zahler’s films (Brawl in Cell Block 99, Dragged Across Concrete) and is wince inducing with characters getting their hand smashed to a pulp with a hammer, another getting repeatedly stabbed in the throat whilst another head is stamped to a bone crunching pulp and yet another pretty much has their head blown off with a shotgun. You have been warned. The three car chases are very good too – none of your Fast & Furious gravity defying lunacy here – in Drive they are all plausible. Bizarrely, and this could only happen in America, one audience member tried to sue the film makers because the trailer had led her to believe that the film would be like F&F in a court case that would have been frankly risible.
Now out on limited edition release 4K UHD & BLU-RAY Drive has a number of bonus features :
- A Special Edition release presented by Second Sight Films and Director Nicolas Winding Refn
- Includes UHD and Blu-ray both with main feature and bonus features
- New 4K master produced by the original post production company and approved by Nicolas Winding Refn
- UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR graded by the film’s original colourist
- Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- New exclusive audio commentary by Nicolas Winding Refn and The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw
- Drive: a 70-minute conversation with Nicolas Winding Refn, Editor Mat Newman and Composer Cliff Martinez
- Cutting a Getaway – a new interview with Mat Newman
- 3 Point Turns – a new video essay by Leigh Singer
- Optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired
Limited Edition Contents
- Premium box set packaging with new artwork by AllCity
- 240-page hardback book with new essays by Travis Crawford, Alison Taylor, Matthew Thrift, Simon Ward, Thomas Joseph Watson, Emma Westwood and Hannah Woodhead, an exclusive interview with Drive author James Sallis by Matthew Thrift, original storyboards, stills and behind-the-scenes photos
- The original novel with exclusive new artwork by AllCity
- 7 collectors’ art cards
The commentary with Refn and The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw is good especially as colleagues of ours have said how awkward an interviewee Refn can be wilfully toying with interviewers and a conversation between him, the Editor and Composer sees him drawling almost to the point of standstill and you just know he’s loving doing this. Equally good is a shot by shot break down of the three car chases by Leigh Singer which is entertainingly insightful
Drive was a critical and commercial success earning $77m worldwide off its $15m budget and went on to earn an Oscar nomination albeit for Sound Editing. It was one of five films that Gosling appeared in that year but it launched him as a leading man. And for Mulligan she would go on to be cast opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby.
Ultimately a B-movie taken to an existential level this is hugely enjoyable with real…..um…..drive
Here’s the Drive trailer…….
DRIVE Limited edition on 4K UHD & BLU RAY is released on June 6th 2022