Drive 2011

Critics score:
92 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Sometimes a movie knows you're watching it. It knows how to hold and keep you, how, when it's over, to make you want it all over again. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Drive revels in sensory detail; it's a visually and aurally edgy Euro-influenced American genre movie about the coolness of noir-influenced American genre movies about the coolness of driving - especially in L.A. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: Mainstream audiences will probably be confounded by "Drive," while lovers of gritty filmmaking will defend every exaggerated shotgun wound as art. Know which camp you're in before you enter the theater. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Enters the viewer like a sharp unseen blade. Read more

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: ...Two-thirds' worth of a pretty good to quite good action picture and one-third worth of affected, highfalutin, practically insufferably portentous, pretentious malarkey. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: "Drive" is somber, slick and earnest, and also a prisoner of its own emptiness, substituting moods for emotions and borrowed style for real audacity. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Drive feels like some kind of masterpiece -- it's as pure a version of the essentials as you're likely to see. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Why would Gosling, a fascinatingly cerebral actor, take a role so far inside his comfort zone? Does he long to strike action-icon poses -- to be the new Nic Cage? Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: [Gosling] and this powerful film, which is ultimately about a moment of grace, deserve each other. He's the medium's most graceful minimalist. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Pulsating...very cool. Could have used a little more "driving," though. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: The look is artfully stylized, influenced by classic film noir; the mood is dark; the performances nuanced; and the story unnervingly exciting. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: "Drive" is a fine and stylish, if ultraviolent, ride, filled with unexpectedly askew camera angles, nighttime lighting worthy of Raymond Chandler, and nuanced performances. Read more

Mike D'Angelo, AV Club: At least half a dozen scenes are burned into my memory for life, including not one but two of the most jarring, heartbreaking juxtapositions of tenderness and violence this side of classic Kitano. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: At a time when action films routinely pass off freneticness as excitement, Drive is a reminder of how powerful the genre can be when every shot and every line of dialogue has a purpose, deployed for maximum impact. Read more

Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic: Think of "Drive" as the cinematic equivalent of riding in a car that projects a fashionably stylish image. Sure, the gas mileage may be terrible and the engine unreliable, but it's such a smooth, good-looking ride that you'll put up with the annoyances. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Gosling's masculine, minimalist approach makes him mysteriously compelling. Yes, there's the fact that he's gorgeous. But he also does so much with just a subtle glance, by just holding a moment a beat or two longer than you might expect. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Though it easily surpasses most American action flicks, it suffers from the old commercial imperative of making the protagonist a nice guy, something Refn has seldom bothered with in Europe. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Before long, and then with grinding relish, "Drive" becomes one garishly sadistic set piece after another. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: The first half of Drive unfolds like a romantic reverie. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: In reworking genres without quoting shamelessly, Refn proves himself his own man and a guy quite capable of taking us places we didn't even know we wanted to go. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Drive is pedal-to-the-metal stuff. Don't get behind the wheel unless you can take the rush. Read more

Laremy Legel, The pace of this film is a beautiful thing to behold, as Drive is a patient but taut thriller. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Tasty, if sketchy, modern noir with car chases and bloody action that should turn the trick for genre-seeking audiences. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: It's a film in love with both traditional noir mythology and ultra-modern violence, a combination that is not ideal. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: What ultimately makes Drive so compelling is its characters - sketches given dimension and heft by a superb cast. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: What it had going for it was an uncanny and moving relationship between Gosling and Mulligan. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: In grabbing our attention, [Refn] diverts it from what matters. The horror lingers and seeps; the feelings are sponged away. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: For stone-cold, retro action fans who are tired of all these over-edited, underachieving thrillers - well, here's one car chase movie that isn't running on empty. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: For all the movement in Drive, the quiet, deathly still moments are the ones that count. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: It's fun, but the script, credited to Hossein Amini ("The Wings of the Dove"), is short on characterization and long on plot twists and wisecracks. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: A shamelessly entertaining genre movie from director Nicolas Winding Refn that plays like an exalted episode of Miami Vice or a stealth version of Shane. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Perhaps Drive is an action movie for those who don't ordinarily like action movies. It's also an action movie for those who crave them like a drug. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Here is still another illustration of the old Hollywood noir principle that a movie lives its life not through its hero, but within its shadows. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Buckle up for the existential bloodbath of Drive, a brilliant piece of business that races on a B-movie track until it switches to the dizzying fuel of undiluted creativity. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Drive" builds extraordinary tension before exploding in brief outbursts of shocking violence, almost in the mode of a samurai film. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Drama requires emotions and cool requires their suppression. The tautly paced, peerlessly stylish crime drama "Drive" has it both ways. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The abrupt shifts between neo-noir fatalism and white-knight romanticism could give an unsuspecting viewer whiplash, but Refn has a trusty map and keeps his hands on the wheel. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: The extreme and escalating violence will prove off-putting to some-frankly, I'm surprised not to have been among them-but for the rest, Drive is a needle-punch of adrenaline to the aorta. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: This is no antic-frantic affair; instead, it's a cerebral game of stop-and-go, hide-and-seek, as the director behind the camera handles things exactly like the guy behind the wheel - with a stylish mixture of cold calculation and cool aplomb. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Tense car chases, action scenes handled with crisp panache and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling channelling Steve McQueen as an existential wheel man add up to make Drive one of the best arty-action films since Steven Soderbergh's The Limey. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: There's a sleek, pulse-pounding, heart-racing machine in Drive, but it's buried deeply under an oppressive package of optional extras. For all of its good ideas -- and there are plenty of them -- the film eventually buckles under an excess of style. Read more

Jessica Winter, TIME Magazine: To invest oneself emotionally in the central relationship, or the movie itself, would be akin to investing oneself emotionally in one's car. But when the car looks this good and drives this fast, why not? Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: Sure, it's shallow, but it's also slickly compelling, beautifully crafted and so damn shiny. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Anyone watching Drive won't be able to take their eyes off Gosling. Playing a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for criminals, he rocks like a young Steve McQueen or Robert De Niro. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: Drive takes the tired heist-gone-bad genre out for a spin, delivering fresh guilty-pleasure thrills in the process. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: The film... has a kind of daredevil control, swerving dangerously close to and abruptly away from self-parody. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn neatly manage the hat trick of paying homage to those wheelmen of yore while reinvigorating the genre with style, smarts and flashes of wit. Read more