Movie Mom

Movie Mom


posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Profanity:Constant very strong and crude language
Nudity/Sex:Some nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, drug dealing
Violence/Scariness:Extreme and very graphic violence, many characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date:January 31, 2012
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence, language, and some nudity
Profanity: Constant very strong and crude language
Nudity/Sex: Some nudity
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking, smoking, drug dealing
Violence/Scariness: Extreme and very graphic violence, many characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Movie Release Date: September 16, 2011
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2012

Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn said that “Drive” is his vision of a contemporary fairy tale about a princess who has to be rescued from a dragon.  It is a highly stylized, brilliantly acted, and brutally violent story about a man we know only as “the Driver” (Ryan Gosling), a mechanic, sometime movie stunt driver, and occasional getaway driver.  He befriends a young mother named Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son while her husband is in prison.

“You put this kid behind a wheel and there’s nothing he can’t do,” says a gimpy guy named Shannon (“Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston), who runs the garage where the Driver works.  “How’s the leg?” asks Nino (Ron Perlman).  “I paid my debt,” says Shannon, acknowledging the real question.  This is a world where debts must be paid and reminders of that fact can be painful.


And this is a world where the Driver is not the only one who has a range of roles that include both sides of the law.  And there are bad guys and really bad guys and really, really bad guys.  Irene’s husband Standard (a superb Oscar Isaac) gets out of prison.  When he is sucked into one more robbery, the Driver goes along to make sure nothing bad happens.  And then a lot of very bad stuff happens, and that makes him a target.  Irene and her son are at risk and so is a woman named Blanche (“Mad Men’s” Christina Hendricks, looking great in tight jeans, even when she’s terrified).  Behind much of what goes on are the deceptively genial Bernie Rose (look for a Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks) and the hot-tempered and impetuous Nino.


It is a volatile situation, and Refn plays that off the minimalist storyline, stripped-down dialog, retro electronic soundtrack, and cool compositions, with each frame as perfectly laid out as a still life waiting to be painted, each movement as swoon-worthily choreographed as a ballet.


Parents should know that this is a brutally violent film with many characters injured and killed, graphic and disturbing violent images, guns, knives, chases, strong language, and nudity.

Family discussion: Where do you think the Driver came from?  Why doesn’t he have a name?  How does the unusual soundtrack contribute to the atmosphere of the story?

If you like this, try: the “Transporter” films

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Allison

    I saw it today and thought it was overrated. I think the filmmakers went overboard with the grisly violence and I didn’t like how women were portrayed in the movie. We have the talented Carey Mulligan relegated to the typical “THE GIRL” role. Mad Men’s Christina Hendrick’s character didn’t have much to do and gets slapped by Gosling and then meets a brutal end. Then you have the topless strippers who barely have any lines, just there to be gawked at.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Allison. I was interested in talking to Carey Mulligan about why she wanted to do a role that had so little action or dialog. She said she would do anything to work with this director. And I imagine she liked the challenge of the scene after her husband returned. The violence was too rough for me, I agree. But I accepted some of what you objected to as a part of a hyper-stylized fable and so it worked for me.

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