Drive Review

Drive Review

Drive, the ultra stylish neo-noir thriller from 2011, is back in a new special collectors edition Blu-ray and DVD package.  It follows the story of a stunt driver, played rather blankly by Ryan Gosling, who works as a getaway driver at night.  He falls for his married neighbour, and things take a downward spiral from there. Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylish thriller takes us on a journey through violence, action and darkly black humour.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will no doubt have heard of Drive. You may already own it, it may be your favourite film ever, but if you haven’t seen it, this is probably the best package you are going to get over in the UK at the moment, but also the most baffling. More of the baffling later.

Now, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way, I am not a big fan of Drive, much as I am not a big fan of Michael Mann, to whom this film owes a great deal of debt. While both Mann and Winding Refn are visually amazing directors, I find they both offer up cool visuals to mask dumb storylines or no storylines at all. Drive kind of falls somewhere between those two stalls for me; it’s visually very good, but style over substance only keeps me going for so long and I wanted more when I first saw this film back in 2011, and I still do today. I find it overly pretentious and Gosling’s character is such a ‘blank’ that I can’t get behind him and his motivations. Similarly so is Carey Mulligan’s character, who I just didn’t care for or her plight.

If you are a fan of the film, that’s cool.  I can understand why people love it, it’s just not for me.  What this film has going for it, as mentioned before, is beautiful cinematography and gorgeous music; a score and songs to die for.  So this is where the baffling part comes in.

This new special edition brings to the disc the 2014 rescore by Radio 1 and Zane Lowe. I remember watching parts of it when it played on TV back in the day and just being a bit confused as to why anyone would spend all of that time and effort on a soundtrack (let’s not call it a score, because it isn’t) when the existing score and songs are damn near perfect. Why waste time on a soundtrack to put far inferior song choices at every given moment, drawing away from what we are watching on screen and making people, like me, who didn’t love the film the first time around, but came back for the music, now not want to come back at all. Very odd.

You get artists such as The 1975, Bastille, Bring Me The Horizon, Foal and CHVRCHES replacing the pop synth and score by Cliff Martinez. Even though these artists and more, individually, outside of the film are very good, they just do not sit right in the film, at all.  All is not lost though as the original score is still intact as a separate audio track. Thank you Icon, thank you.

Special features are rounded off by a ‘making of’ the rescore and an interview with Refn. So, if you are curious about Drive, or do not already own it, by all means get this new special edition and check out the rescore. But with no new transfer, this edition leans very much toward the curio of the updated soundtrack. For collectors only.

Blu-ray Bonus Content

  • Alternative BBC Radio 1 soundtrack curated by Zane Lowe
  • The Making of the Alternative soundtrack
  • Six Exclusive Art Cards
  • Interview with Director Nicolas Winding Refn

DVD Bonus Content
  • Radio 1 Zane Lowe Rescore
  • Q&A with Director Nicolas Winding Refn

6 out of 10
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
6 out of 10

Drive is fine as a special edition of the stylish thriller, but with no new transfer, this edition leans very much toward the curio of the updated soundtrack, which in itself is no improvement over the original.


out of 10

Drive (2011)
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn | Cast: albert brooks, Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan, Ryan Gosling | Writers: Hossein Amini (screenplay), James Sallis (book)

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