I know it doesn't open for awhile, but I was hoping that others have seen it, at a film festival or something. I just caught it, and I can't get it out of my mind, and I'm eager to get the opinions of others.
The one word that came to my mind is "sinister." The whole movie has this sinister, diseased feel, like someone took a pretty standard revenge story and just dropped poison down its throat. I followed the project for awhile, back when Neil Marshall was going to make it with Hugh Jackman, and I can't help but think that it would have been a pretty standard revenge action picture, and a pretty awesome one to boot. But this... this was just... I dunno, sick.
I know people have been describing this as some sort of ersatz superhero story, with Ryan Gosling's character taking charge in the second half to protect Carey Mulligan and her son from gangsters. And the colors really pop, and the shot composition is incredibly dynamic. But the vibe I got was the same as when I was little, and I would catch a glimpse of some really vulgar, violent, foul-mouthed anime that I knew I shouldn't be watching, something that felt vicious and completely joyless. If someone told me this was, say, an anime adaptation, I wouldn't bat an eye. The logic is stringy, cops don't really come into play, and Gosling never changes his driving jacket from the second half of the movie on, even when its soaked in blood and he has to go to fairly normal places. Also, I think his name is Driver, but no one ever calls him anything. And then there's that freakish bald guy mask he wears, which you can see in the trailer, and is pure NIGHTMARE FUEL.
Anyway, I really liked it: the music was great, the shot composition was spectacular, and it has a lot of nice, small moments between characters. But it also just seemed so overwhelmingly sick and sinister and way beyond conventional pleasure. I think its awesome that FilmDistrict is going to give this a decent-sized release. And I also think the general public is going to throw this thing right back in their faces, sadly.