The Verdict: DriveNicolas Winding Refn's latest film accelerates into a coercive, exhilarating masterpiece

FOR WAY, WAY LONGER than you’d expect, Drive is a polite movie. It goes the speed limit. It makes complete stops. It signals before turning. It brakes on yellow. (Should I keep going?) The film is so well-behaved that you’d be forgiven for thinking your mom might like it, right up to the minute the first skull gets blown open. Ryan Gosling is so dreamy.

Drive makes the most of the disconnect between its extraordinary violence and its overwhelming sexiness, and then some. Where most hyper-stylized, ultra-violent films inevitably end up romanticizing the carnage (some quite successfully), the blood in Drive hurts and delights in roughly equal measure. It’s not Schindler’s List, but it’s not The Boondock Saints, either. Thank God for that. 

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