There were parts of this I liked a lot, and parts that frustrated me. On the good side, the car chases avoided the usual clichés. In the first one, we never go outside the car. It’s a cat-and-mouse game with the cops, mostly at slow speed, hiding here and there. You can see the driver thinking, planning his next move smoothly. The others chases are good, as well. Ryan Gosling plays The Driver, no other name given. And that’s all he does: drive, for movie stunts and moonlighting as a getaway driver. He hardly talks at all. Then he meets a woman and her child, and opens up just a little. But their scenes drag, with too many long, long pauses. The violence here is about as extreme as I’ve ever seen in a serious, non-slasher movie, but it’s somehow not drooled over and exploited. It is sudden, with no stupid slomo or multiple camera angles. I’d never seen a man stomped so hard and so badly that his head was turning to mush. But it is so quick, you gasp, and you think “Did I really see that?” There was much talk of an Oscar nomination for Albert Brooks, playing way against type as a monstrous gangster. He didn’t get one, which may have been a mistake for the Academy. The great thing is, at first, he just seems like good old amiable Albert Brooks, and then he grabs a fork and jams it into a guy’s eye. The film is also marred by what I thought was a stupid ending. The Driver does something incredibly dumb, something that even I wouldn’t do. So, a very mixed review here. Some fabulous stuff. If only they’d edited the rest of it more tightly.