This movie was pretty incredible, and probably the all around coolest film to hit theaters this year. The opening sequence alone is well worth the price of admission. We join Ryan Gosling's character, the Driver, as he escorts a couple of burglars through the city, avoiding the police all the while. This entire sequence, shot from the passenger seat of the Driver's car, is really intense, and sets the stage early on for what's certain to be a different movie going experience.
There are elements of a more dramatic, arthouse style of film, yet blended in throughout is also quite a heavy dose of action. The action is really raw and gritty, and I loved every second of it! Car chase scenes are actually shot in a way that doesn't leave you confused and dizzy, and the visceral action is all very clearly shot throughout, which is just a real treat to find in any action movie these days.
The plot itself is actually fairly simple. So simple, in fact, that even summing it up would likely give away some major plot points. But basically, it's a heist gone wrong, and that's all I'm going to say about it. Not to take anything away from the writing, which is very well crafted. But even more than the story itself, what's really important about this movie is the execution, which is beautifully stylized, and damn near flawless. The movie takes its time, developing the characters and their various relationships, all the while never feeling slow or drawn out. It keeps you engaged and really wanting to learn more. And as we learn more, our characters gradually find themselves getting into bigger and bigger messes.
The Driver is a very awkward character, someone who fills conversations with long silent pauses and happens to do a lot of odd staring. This initially feels quite inhuman, almost robotic, but as the character grows and he gets deeper into trouble, he slowly opens up and shows us why he is this way. It's a very deliberate performance from Ryan Gosling, who completely sold the character.
The real star of the movie, however, is the soundtrack. The 80s style music in this film is just phenomenal, and really compliments the retro-esque LA setting like no other. This is some of the best use of songs in a movie that I can remember, at times making for what are sure to become some of the most memorable moments in film for years to come.
I know I've mentioned very little about the plot and what this movie's really about, but honestly, I'm not sure that it's entirely important to know going in. I went into the movie knowing very little about it myself, other than what I had heard about the action/arthouse mish-mash that I mentioned. But this is a movie that will shock you, and definitely shouldn't go missed. It's one of the absolute best films I've seen all year, and was truly a delight to watch. Go see it!