"There's a hundred thousand streets in this city. If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place, I give you a five-minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes, then I'm yours, no matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that, and you're on your own. Do you understand?"
The opening lines of "Drive," the best movie I saw in 2011, set the tone for the entire picture.
Like the Driver's (Ryan Gosling) approach to his nighttime gig as a wheelman, Nicolas Winding Refn's filmmaking is deceptively simple and direct. Dialogue is spare. Action is sudden and brutal. Car chases appear to be composed solely of stunts.
The tight-lipped Driver remains a mystery to the end, even as he romances his neighbor (Carey Mulligan), bonds with her young son (Kaden Leos), tries to help her ex-con husband (Oscar Isaac) out of a jam and runs afoul of two gangsters (Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks).