[b]Drive[/b] (2011 96min.) [BBC2 10.45pm]
Crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. In Los Angeles, a mysterious, ice-cool driver not only works as a garage mechanic and film stuntman, but he also moonlights as a getaway driver during heists. But when he befriends next door neighbour Irene and her child, he is soon involved in a robbery that will put all their lives at risk.
Great cast (the two leads are supported by Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks and Albert Brooks) and directed with flair and verve by Nicolas Winding Refn.
The night time street set action scenes are very well crafted and the soundtrack pops and bubbles with eighties-influenced synthpop themes.
Ryan Gosling isn't really required to do much other than look grim faced and handsome, but he does both things very well and there's plenty of fine acting going on around him (especially from Brooks and Perlman as the genuinely nasty heavies putting the frighteners on all and sundry.)
There's some moments of graphic bloodshed that could upset the squeamish but the overall effect is of a neatly constructed old-fashioned Good Guy vs Bad Guys thriller where the leading man comes to the rescue of threatened inncocents ; in that respect it's most resembles a vintage western rather than the ultra-hip contemporary story whose clothes it wears.
A lot of fun if you can get past the violence inherent in the story.