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There Are No Clean Getaways

Rating: 7/10

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

The ever-dependable Ryan Gosling is Driver – Hollywood stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night – who, as is so often the case, goes for one last big heist in order to help out a respectable ladyfriend (Mulligan). When it inevitably goes wrong, Driver goes on the run with the loot in the boot of his car and two excitable gangsters (Perlman and Brookes) on his tail.

Drive is an unshamedly retro nod to the likes of dark brooding urban thrillers of the Eighties from the likes of Michael Mann and John Carpenter. Nicolas Winding Refn certainly hasn’t given us anything new and unique but what is there is solid, looks pretty cool and entertains throughout as it takes us on a tourist trail through the underbelly of Southern California.  The setting is atmospherically shot and, with explosive action and a truly amazing synthy Eighties soundtrack to make the most ordinary of shots feel like an event, provides an interesting watch that won’t win any prizes but will stand out as one of 2011’s best B-Movies.

With regards to acting, this is not the vehicle of an acting masterclass. Sure, Perlman and Brookes really get their teeth into their roles as gangsters and they fizzle whenever onscreen and finally Carey Mulligan is also impressive as the pensive love interest as she balances the strength and weakness of her character with subtlety. But for swathes of the movie Driver just stare mutely with the same expression on his face – is he feeling sad/angry/rapey/loving? Who knows? And from this he inevitably gets the lady of the piece. Imagine them twenty years down the line at the dinner table as the sound of cutlery scraping against crockery fills the room.

It's Got: Awesome retro Eighties soundtrack, explosive action, a gritty Eighties feel

It Needs: Less brooding, little more dialogue


An above average B-Movie with an Eighties feel that’s driven by good Direction from Nicolas Winding Refn.