Dive stars Ryan Gosling as a ‘driver’. The pre-titles sequence establish his credentials at his after-hours activity of being a getaway driver, allowing the guys a five minute window to get their stuff done and get in the car. He’s clearly good at it and approaches it with a clear, logical head to avoid being caught, but it’s got to go wrong somewhere along the line, right? Or has it?

Okay, so setup complete, then the credits roll and they’re in a beautifully 70’s nostalgic pink neon style, a bit like the typeface of the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ or the alternative cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ and it obviously can’t avoid reminding you of ‘Taxi Driver’ but it acknowledges this acceptingly.

What follows is like a combination of a game of ‘Driver’ meets a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western. Incredibly simplistic characters and conventional plot as we follow our anti-hero into the world of bad guys and troubled maidens. Ryan Gosling plays the character as the quiet, considered, thinking type and stretches the filmic convention of not saying anything or taking forever to answer to new lengths.

Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman play a couple of mobsters (Bernie Rose and Nino) in almost comical fashion. By that I don’t mean that they are funny (not intentionally at least), but that the scenes with them in play like a comedian’s sketch of a tough-guy film. You half expect one of them to look at the screen in an extreme close-up and say something ridiculous like “Nobody calls me a na-na! NOBODY!’ and then have their fake moustache fall off.

Which reminds me that some of the occasional violence is quite graphic (although a particular scene in a lift reminded me of a Dennis Pennis as Mike Strutter scene).

Visually it’s great with some really nice angles, lighting and framing and the action and chase scenes are a joy to watch.

So, it’s an enjoyable and brainless couple of hours at the cinema. Nice to look at and with a good feel about it, but not much upstairs. Just like that poor Miss South Carolina who was asked why so many Americans couldn’t locate their own country on a map and rambled on for minutes without saying anything. (YouTube it!).

3 on 5


Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Ron Perlman, Kaden Leos

UK Release: 13th August 2011


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