“You give me a time and a place, I give you a five-minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours no matter what.”

He’s the Driver (angel-faced badass Ryan Gosling), that’s it, that’s all. You do your dirty business, whatever it is, then he’ll drive the getaway car as well as any other man ever could. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll get all fast and furious, GTA smash-happy on your ass. Here’s a guy who thinks behind the wheel, who’d much rather slip through the cracks and escape discreetly than burn rubber… But if it comes to that, so be it.

We gather all this through the pre-credits opening sequence of “Drive”, and almost entirely via visual storytelling, and we’re immediately hooked. Here’s a brilliantly crafted, whip-smart mood piece that initially reminds of things like Soderbergh’s “The Limey” or Mann’s “Collateral”, then of a Tarantino-by-the-way-of-Elmore-Leonard crime tale populated by a rogue gallery of colorful crooks (Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, James Biberi, Christina Hendricks, Albert Brooks, Ron motherfuckin’ Perlman)…

And then the damn thing goes all “A History of Violence” on us, delivering a bunch of absolutely riveting, extremely violent action sequences. And yet this remains a generally quiet and atmospheric film, filled with evocative visuals and wonderful performances, including Carey Mulligan’s as the romantic interest. I also really dug the synth-heavy, 80s-style Cliff Martinez score and the use of songs by Kavinsky, Desire, College, Chromatics and Riz Ortolani

This is, dare I say it, some kind of genre-bending masterpiece, full of instant-classic movie moments that is bound to thrill any cinephile.