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  • Composed by Cliff Martinez
  • Lakeshore Records / 2011 / 70:19

A very well-received thriller frequently compared with the films of Michael Mann, Nicholas Refn’s Drive stars Ryan Gosling as a car mechanic who moonlights both as a movie stunt driver and as a getaway driver for local criminals.  So, he’s a driver; and his name is Driver.  Frequently-cited as one of the film’s many plus points is its score, by Cliff Martinez.  As he has before, the composer treads a fine line between music and sound design, but he always stays on the right side of the line and his score is frequently mesmerising, compelling, hypnotic… pick your own favourite adjective.

The composers I frequently champion at this website are mostly of a certain ilk, ones who favour melody and who favour the majestic possibilities offered by an orchestra; but I don’t champion them because of those things, rather that they are good composers who exploit the unique possibilities offered by film to craft music of substance and drama.  That’s what Martinez does – and in doing so he shows just how effective electronic music can be.  Exploiting various unique textures, his throbbing music here is like the heartbeat of the story – the 50-ish minutes of Martinez score which follow a few tracks of Euro-electronica pass by in no time.  It’s not quite on the level of his very best, but remains highly recommended to fans of this very talented film composer, who manages to bring a very different voice and show that there’s not only one way to skin a cat.  *** 1/2

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