Apparently this movie was too cool for me. As I always try to do, I went into the film knowing as little as possible about the story. In this case I did really well, I only knew: the title, the DVD cover and that there was a million copies on the shelf at the video store which lead me to believe it was a pretty popular film. I didn't even read the description on the back of the DVD case. So based on the cover and the title I figured the film was about a guy who drove a car and since he was holding a bloody hammer I figured either somebody really pissed him off or maybe he was dressed up as the dude from OLDBOY for Halloween.
The movie starts out okay enough with a rather subdued car chase scene and I use the term "car chase" very loosely because it would barely even rate a 1-star rating on GTA. After that we're more formally introduced to the character of Driver and there's not a lot going on there. In the daytime he's a part-time mechanic/stunt car driver and at night he's a getaway driver for the highest bidder. Sounds exciting, but it's not because throughout all of this Driver just calmly chews on a toothpick (COBRA-style) and stares into space like he might not be getting enough oxygen to his brain (Terri Schiavo-style). Driver comes across kinda like a heavily medicated Forrest Gump. He has the personality of an ice cube and I guess that might be the point: maybe his robotic performance is some kind of complex social commentary by the filmmakers about desensitized, emotionally unavailable males in contemporary society or something like that. I don't know and I don't give a fuck. I'm a simple-minded man and in my movies called DRIVE about getaway drivers holding bloody hammers I want to see cars wrecking! A lot.
Anyway, as Fate would have it (and Fate is really stretching it here) Driver's neighbor just happens to be in debt deeply to the same mafia gangster guy that Driver's business partner is in cahoots with. Small world huh? Anyway, Driver doesn't know this when he agrees to help his neighbor rob a pawn shop. Almost instantly the deal goes south and Driver ends up in a very bad situation.
The story is older than dirt, but oh well, it's nothing that a lot of character development, violence and jaw-droppingly awesome car chases can't fix. Too bad then there's a total of 7 minutes of car chases in this entire movie...and that's including the opening scene! The other 93 minutes are spent slowly telling a story that a better filmmaker could have told in 40 minutes and then beefed up with jaw-droppingly awesome car chases.
Bottom line: DRIVE is too in-your-face stylized for me, there's too many song moments that come off like music videos, numerous plot holes, the action (what little there is) is underwhelming, the story is ancient and filled with unsympathetic characters, the pace is torture and worst of all the Driver character is a bore. Not a bad movie, just one that I don't get. But don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself. As for me I'll be in my room watching THE ROAD WARRIOR.