Ryan Gosling plays a Hollywood Stunt driver by day and wheelman for hire by night. That’s the basic premise. In the movie the nameless wheelman (Gosling becomes some what romantically involved with his neighbor (Carey Mulligan, Wall Street 2). Her husband is soon released from prison but owes protection money to a group of gangsters. Looking to protect his new affection, the wheelman helps out the husband and offers to be the driver for a job to get the money needed. A double-crossing from the gangsters ensues and the wheelman is left with the money and a choice to make: run with the money or set things strait and protect his neighbor and her child.
Since seeing the movie Bullitt, all cop drama movies with car chases are held to that standard that Bullitt set the bar for. If Frank Bullit (Steve McQueen’s character in Bullitt) were to work on the other side of the law this would be the story of that man. Now I know that is a tall order to dish up but bear with me. 80s style music was the choice of chorus in this film and I rather liked it. I complimented the subtle yet stylized cinematography beautifully. But it did more than that. In the movie Bullitt you will notice through out the movie that the music is used to not just set the mood of the scene but to direct your mood and prepare it for the scene. Whether it be a relaxed or high-tension scene it directs your pulse to calm or to go on the attack, most notably the build up to the big car chase through the streets of San Francisco. But then the music does something rare, something most production studios don’t know how to do to this day… it stops. It stops and lets the sounds of what the driver hears, the engine and tire squeal. It may seem small and insignificant but watch these two movies and try to notice your pulse and posture during the chase scenes. Drive’s main chase scene has the wheel-man in a Mustang GT (coincidence?) and the chasers in a Chrysler 300. I almost expected the 300 to end up plowing into a Gas station. It’s not just the chase scenes though. Gosling seems to capture that cool reserve that Frank Bullitt always seemed to hold. If Jason Statham had been cast for this movie he wouldn’t have know when to shut up. No cheesy one-liners here. Saying what needs to be said nothing more nothing less.
When I originally saw Ryan Gosling as the lead I was with some doubt about the movie. Having being forced to watch The Note Book by an ex-girlfriend I had what you would call a bias. After seeing the movie and appreciating it for what it is it is on my top 10 list and i highly recommend it to cinema fans let alone Bullit fans and automotive junkies
P.S if you have a keen ear you can hear, in Bullitt, the throttle blips on the up shifts (special FX and useless). If you also pay attention to Drive there are up shifts while driving the Mustang GT in reverse…