Drive (2011) Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Achingly cool, Drive is an instant classic and Ryan Gosling's elusive, strong and slightly psychotic lead The Driver is an icon like Travis Bickle or Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey in Death Wish. From its opening, Drive will hook you in; LA has never looked so neon pretty and petrifying, and The Driver - a mechanic, stuntman and getaway driver - may be a man of few words but his knowing looks say so much more. His feet give away a lot too.
At its heart and despite its brutality, Drive is a love story. The Driver loves his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) - her husband comes out of jail, gets hit and then her life, and that of her young son, are in threat from some very nasty thugs. The Driver and Irene get closer during the time that her husband is locked up and, for the uninitiated, you may well think the film is heading down the path of a traditional love story. Oh noooo. Just you wait. Pretty Christina Hendricks is in it soon and very bad things happen to her.
Drive is a hard one to sum up as you'll go through many emotions when you're watching it; The Driver at first seems aloof and pretty gentle, and you warm to him as he's a cutie and nice to Irene. One turn at a bar though shows a frightening insight into his psyche, and we then get THE BEST SCREEN KISS EVER which quickly escalates into the relentless head stomping of a baddie in an elevator. That kiss though, it's amazing and you'll hold your breath. There's never been anything quite like it on screen. Tingle.
In Act 3, The Driver almost becomes the Bogeyman, the masked killer, the Michael Myers. It's a good nod to horror in a film that crosses many different genres. The Driver stalks his prey - albeit scumbags - relentlessly and with no emotion.
Everything about Drive is perfection. The violence is heavy if you can stomach it, but you'll want to suck up the soundtrack, the neon glow, devour Ryan Gosling and book a flight to LA and drive and drive. With leather gloves on. The M6 will never be the same again.
5/5 toothpicks