This film so wants to be gritty ’70s-retro cool, and it pretty much succeeds. It’s got Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman: they’re cool. It’s got Carey Mulligan. It’s got old cars, chases, blood-spattering violence, moody silences. It’s got a taciturn hero with no name, past or furniture (Gosling) who favours a polyester windcheater. Gosling even shares a first name with O’Neal, star of The Driver (1978). But then he almost ruins it all by chewing a toothpick. Oh dear.

Our hero, ” “, is a mechanic and stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman. He moves in next to Irene (Carey Moll Again) and a spark is ignited, but then her husband gets out of the joint and is promptly forced to pull a heist to pay off a prison debt. ” ” offers to drive, but of course, things go double-crossy wrong.

Despite being somewhat lacking in both driving action and dialogue, it’s not a bad ride. 8/10

Released October 27, 2011.


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