Nicolas Winding Refn's DRIVE is good. Scratch that. It's great. Really great. Some may have feared that Refn sold out with his pretty-boy Ryan Gosling action movie, and I'm inclined to call those people fools. Yes, DRIVE does feels like a Hollywood film, but not like anything you've seen Hollywood put out in a long time. Did you really think that Nicolas Winding Refn, one of the best and most interesting working directors, would submit to the evil ways of the studio system? Refn actually benefitted from the opportunities Hollywood gave him with this film. Utilizing his best cast yet (not that he hasn't always used great actors) and some very nice Los Angeles locales, Refn has created what I feel to be his most complete film to date.
No, it isn't as existential as, say, BRONSON or VALHALLA RISING, but it is just as thoughtful, and even more violent, than anything he has made. What Refn has done with DRIVE is make something that is not only accessible to a fairly wide audience, but also completely in keeping with the rest of his filmography. Some diehards may rail against the film's familiar action movie structure or its dabbling with romanticism, but by the end it's clear that Refn is deconstructing the modern action film, rather than falling in line with it.