Fans of Ryan Gosling who grew up watching him in Breaker High
and The Notebook,
be warned. In the eight years since starring in the Nicholas Sparks blockbuster, he has become a man with increasing levels of badass-ness. This is evident in Drive
, a hyper-violent and visually stunning picture that has Gosling playing the role of a driver for hire in LA’s seedy underbelly. The film owes its imagery to French new wave cinema and exploitation flicks as much as the overly violent oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino, which should come as no surprise considering this was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the sadistic mastermind behind brutal prison movie Bronson
. But underneath all that violence is a beautiful picture that features Gosling coming into his own as a leading man---even if it’s while he's kicking people to death.