Drive: Ryan Gosling nails his first action role. He plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver, and stumbles into a noble mission to save his neighbour (Carey Mulligan) and her young son from gangland retribution. Gosling combines Zen-like grace with psychotic brutality, unleashing a virtually silent performance as an über-cool action hero reminiscent of Steve McQueen. Painting L.A. in shades of neon noir, Denmark’s Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising) plays a waiting game with sparse dialogue and hair-trigger suspense, snapped by bursts of bone-crushing violence. Albert Brooks makes a surprisingly scary villain.

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