From its opening shots, Refn's movie is as cool and controlled as its protagonist... at once unhurriedly stylish and intensely gripping. You'd like to lean back and admire, but the action keeps pulling you to the edge of your seat.
Like the novels of Raymond Chandler and the paintings of David Hockney, Drive is both an accurate view of southern California's intoxicating sleaze and glamour and the filtering of it through a European sensibility.
Weighted with steely silences and sudden explosions of graphic violence, Drive confronts and dismantles our expectations with a hardened confidence that is all too rare in contemporary Hollywood filmmaking
Even when the screen goes berserk - a face splintering under a stamping heel, a master-crook attacking a defenceless colleague's features with a knife and fork - director Refn doesn't blink or expect us to.