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Cannes 2011: Ryan Gosling's Drive wins mostly strong reviews

Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan in Drive

Preview by Jack Foley

RYAN Gosling’s Drive, directed by Danish wunderkind Nicolas Winding Refn, has been given a general thumbs up at Cannes.

The film, which focuses on Gosling’s unnamed Driver as he works doing movie stunts during the day and moonlights as a robbery getaway driver at other times, was recently described the action himself as a cross between Blue Velvet and Purple Rain

But Cannes critics seemed to like the slick mix of violence, silent character building and action.

The Guardian‘s Xan Brooks, for instance, described it as “an existential heist movie that doffs its cap to the back catalogues of Walter Hill, John Carpenter and Michael Mann”.

Brooks went on to praise Refn for directing “with savvy aplomb” and encouraged viewers to “buckle up” as: “It’s quite a ride.” Read more

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, was similarly enthusiastic, describing it as “a fun, if not exhilarating, ride” and one that’s “sped along with the help of a wonderfully assembled cast”.

It also praises Gosling for his [successful] bid “to enter the iconic ranks of tough, self-possessed American screen actors – Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin – who express themselves through actions rather than words”. Read more

Variety wrote that the film “takes the tired heist-gone-bad genre out for a spin, delivering fresh guilty-pleasure thrills in the process”. Read more

On the negative side, This Is London‘s Derek Malcolm accused the film of bearing a split personality, concluding his review with the comment that it “may please and horrify his [Gosling]‘s fans at the same time. But not a very convincing one to be displayed among the rarities in the Cannes competition”. Read more

And Time Out‘s Geoff Andrew felt that “Nicolas Winding Refn’s ultra-stylish neo-noir may be fine as a flashy genre piece, but originality is not its selling point”. Read more

But based on the reaction so far, we’re very much looking forward to buckling up when the film opens in the UK in September.