What happens when a Hollywood action flick collides with an artsy indie? You get Drive, a movie that will either crash and burn at the box office or earn a cult following, particularly among fans of Pulp Fiction or maybe The Sopranos.

It could, and should, also appeal to fans of Ryan Gosling, who has exemplified range and versatility in the thousands of roles he’s played this year. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit, but it does seem like the guy’s been in pretty much everything lately.

Fortunately, Gosling has the innate ability to make whatever movie he’s in at least somewhat better, which is why the Chicks are more than a little psyched for his upcoming political drama, Ides of March, co-starring that other Chick fave, George Clooney!

Anyway… shifting back to Drive… don’t let the pink italic font in the main titles fool you. This film is downright noir.

Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver (whose name is never revealed) who moonlights as a wheelman for various armed thugs. He has a quiet intensity that can be chilling, compassionate, sweet, sensitive and brutal, depending on the circumstances. His softer side is most evident when he’s hanging out with his pretty neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son. But any hopes for domestic bliss are compromised when “the driver” gets caught up in a heist gone wrong and becomes a target of the mob.

Drive has a strong supporting cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks as a trio of complex characters whose ties to the underworld impact the driver in very different ways. It is a dark, pulse-pounding thriller with shades of romance, flashes of dry wit and an electrifying soundtrack. And oh yeah – some really gross bone-crushing, blood-spattering fight scenes.

Drive is based on a book by James Sallis and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, a quirky Dane who actually won the best director award at Cannes for this film. I was captivated through much of it, but relieved when it was over. I don’t particularly like movies that require me to cover my eyes for longer than 10 seconds at a time (Pulp Fiction among them).

Bottom line: Drive is not really my type of movie. But Ryan Gosling is most definitely my type of actor. He’s one hugely talented guy. Did I mention he’s starring in Ides of March with George Clooney? That one opens on Friday, October 7, 2011. Save the date. 😉

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