"Drive" is all about mood but without the edge.
This noir-ish crime story will remind you a lot of Michael Mann's "Heat" in its look and deliberately slow pace. Like that movie, it favors long, smoldering stares over dialogue, punctuated by sudden violence so brutal it becomes surreal.
Ryan Gosling plays a no-name guy who is a part-time stunt and racecar driver, part-time getaway driver for hire. His past and present are pretty much a blank until he meets sweet-faced neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), who becomes the unknowing catalyst for a bloody trail of betrayal and murder.
Gosling is an excellent actor, but his wide eyes and enigmatic smile are a strange counterpoint to his propensity for pounding guys to a virtual pulp.
Thank goodness for veteran actors Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks and Bryan Cranston: They provide some good old-fashioned sleaze and corruption to keep things lively.
As expected for a movie called "Drive," the car chases through eerily quiet L.A. streets are expertly done and keep the tension high. This is a very cool movie to look at, but the filmmakers underestimated the value of a character-driven story.
SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.
'I Don't Know How' to sympathize with them
"I Don't Know How She Does It" showcases a woman's frenzied life as she furiously juggles the demands of her career and young family. Sarah Jessica Parker does an admirable job looking like the mom who belongs in both worlds.
Pierce Brosnan is excellent as her boss in the corner office. Greg Kinnear plays her understanding husband.
There are many funny moments as the harried pace of her life unfolds in rapid fire. The use of actors talking directly to the camera during their scenes offers an amusing narrative device.
But the troubles suffered by this couple won't ring true for many ordinary people living through the Great Recession.
She works at a major investment bank patterned after Goldman Sachs. He is an architect looking for bigger jobs. She travels constantly, enjoying expensive hotels and power lunches.
It's hard to feel sympathy for people who have little time for their children because they are so successful in their high-powered jobs.
JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.