drive for you, you get your money. That's a guarantee. You tell me where we
start, where we're goin', where we goin' afterwards, I give you five minutes
when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes then I'm yours, no
matter what. Anything a minute either side of that and you're on your own. I
don't sit in while you're running it down. I don't carry a gun. I drive.” - Driver
Drive is a movie different from what we’ve seen
in awhile. It’s style, the music, the vibe, just the whole feel around this
film opens your mind, and put’s you in a rare world full of surprises.
In the opening first scene, the viewer hit hard
with Driver’s (Ryan Gosling) first words. We are given a glimpse of this odd
character, and with no emotion to go off of, the only thing the viewer is
forced to hold on to, is the meanings behind his words, as he talks on the
phone running down his code, “I drive.”
Be warned if you go into this movie expected your
regular “The Transporter”, type feel, you will be wrong. Drive more of an art
apposed to just a straight up film. Different aspects of the film such as
lighting, dialogue, setting, and the big question, “Why this day?” Meaning why
should we care about this character? What makes this driver such an important aspect
of the film that the viewer should pay attention to him? These are all
questions that the director Nicolas Winding Refn was ready to answer.
At the beginning the viewer is shown “the driver”
standing in a room on a cell phone. He isn’t having a conversation with the
person on the other end, he is more so telling his business, and what he will
and will not do. He is not up for negotiation. This means that whoever is on
the other end of the phone has to accept the meaning of the words, “I drive.”
So without spoiling too much of this great film,
Ryan Gosling plays the nameless character known as “Driver”, or at times “the
Kid.” He is a loner, and the viewer isn’t given much detail of his past,
meaning that the viewer doesn’t know what he is capable of. What we are given
the impression of at first is that he is a serious, quite character who is
experienced at driving. By day he is a stunt driver for movies, and by night he
is helping criminals make clean getaways from the police. A kind of character
who we can’t judge as a good, or bad guy at first hand.
So we are introduced to other important
characters like his boss at a garage named Shannon, but the main characters
that result in “Driver” showing his true colors, is a mother named Irene, and
her child Benicio. We find out that the father is in jail, and that she is
basically alone. So again without giving too much, it is obvious to see that,”Driver”
starts to hang around the family, and become close to them growing a
relationship with them.
The story then takes a major turn for,”Driver,”
when he finds out that the husband is on his way back from prison. The husband
gets into a money problem, and,”Driver,” decides to help out, (since he has experience
in that field.” Of course the job goes horribly wrong, and now, “Driver,” is
forced to the edge and has to fight back to protect Irene, her child, and
himself from the threat that faces them.
The whole theme, the entire feel you get out of;”Drive”
has an insane retro vibe to it, from the amazing choices in music, to the
mysterious scorpion jacket the main character wears throughout the film.
Visually the film is beautiful after the first sequence with him escaping the
cops, the opening credits were amazing to look at. The song used in the opening
credits was, “Nightcall” by Kavinsky, and what is really interesting about this
song, is that throughout it there is a certain line that relates to the main
character. “There is something inside you, it’s hard to explain, they’re
talking about you boy, but you’re still the same.”
Hearing this song as you watch an expressionless
Ryan Gosling drive around a nightlife city of California really puts you in the
mood. But it makes me think that there might be something odd, or wrong with
this character. Since like in the song, there is something about that is hard
to explain. Meaning that when we finish the movie we will find that the characters
that interact with him have an odd relationship with him, because of the way he
acts. And maybe the viewer still won’t understand him, and we will be, “talking
about him, but he is still the same.”
In that montage sequence when he enters his apartment the music fades
down, and you see,” Driver” just staring into his room, and in perfect sync
with the music he turns around, and turns out the light, and it jumps back to
him being in the car driving around. That small scene was mind-blowing, just
how they were able to have the click of the light switch sync with the single beat
that restarted the song.
That scene made me realize something really
important about the character. The most important relationship isn’t him with
the family, or with his boss, the most important relationship is with him and
driving in general. I went into the movie expecting over the top car chases,
and etc. But you will see that the movie isn’t called,” Drive,” because it’s
about car chasing and action. It is his life, and the only thing he can hold on
to. He drives as a stuntman, he drives as a getaway driver, he drives to think
about his problems, or to forget them, and he drives to just think in general,
and lastly for happiness.
The opening credits clearly show that he is driving
around but never show you where he goes, they just show his face, and give you
the impression that he is in deep thought. Later we see him a stunt man, but
when he meets the family there is another amazing sequence, where he decides to
drive them home because of their car problems. The reason why this scene is
very important is because it shows him laughing, and smiling which is rare for
his character. The song that plays as they drive to a river is “ A Real Hero,”
by Electric Youth, College. In the song it is repeated, “A real hero, a real
human being,” showing that this is what this character wants to be, this is what’s
making him happy. He wants to be a hero and help this family, and he feels like
a real person when he is around them.
Lastly on the topic of music there is another
sequence that is really interesting. It occurs after,” Driver,” is informed
about the husband, named,” Standard” is on his way back. Meaning that the main
character could lose that one thing that makes him feels like a “real human
being.” So there is a welcoming back party for him, and the song that is
playing is,” Under Your Spell” by Desire. And as the song plays it shows the
main character in the dark working on something, but he seems to be troubled,
and can’t really focus. And as the song plays it cuts to the party and Irene
looking at her husband, and then cuts back to Driver. And in this sequence the
song repeats the lines, “I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, I do nothing but think of
you.” This was another amazing scene because we know that Irene is starting to
become torn between the two so when it jumps back at forth at both men, it
shows what’s going on in her mind with anyone, or without her saying it. Also
the same for Driver. We are used to seeing his character acting as if he
doesn’t care about anything, but we see him now struggling to focus, so he
leaves. When he does he sees Irene sitting in the hallway, and the music is
muffled which is really cool. Because they were able to kill two birds with one
stone using this song. They used it just as music for the scene, but then
showed the viewer that the party is actually playing this song, and the
characters themselves can hear, it and hear the words. After that there is a
scene that occurs that I will go over later, but after it occurs, we see him in
his car driving, without us knowing his destination. He is driving to because it
helps him cope with his problems.
I said it before, but the music in this film is
perfect, and if not it is fairly close to being it. It does not jam popular
world songs that people recognize down your throat, it gives you music that
normally you wouldn’t listen to, but makes it fit. As far as dialogue all of
the characters have really interesting lines, but there are high chances that
the Driver’s dialogue is the most interesting. His character speaks very
little, so it is a shock when he does explode in rage. To some this may seem
awkward to some people, when he gives a short response to a long question. Also
another thing that adds to his character is his pauses in conversation. This
may turn you off depending on how you feel, but personally I enjoyed it. It was
different, and really experienced his character.
One of my favorite scenes that had great dialogue
that somewhat frightened me was when the husband, firsts meet driver.
[Standard comes out of the apartment with Benicio
as Driver is talking to Irene]
Standard: How you doin'?
Standard: This guy's been tellin' me a lot about you. Says
you've been uh...comin' around, helpin' out a lot. Yeah, helpin' out? Is that
[Driver doesn't reply but smiles]
Standard: Is that right?
Standard: Oh, that's very nice. That's nice of you, thank
Driver: You're welcome.
Standard: You drive for the movies?
[referring to the garbage bag he's carrying]
Irene: I can take that.
Standard: No. No. I go it.
Standard: Let mommy talk to her friend.
This scene was very tense. The tone in Standard’s
voice was scary, and violent and gave the viewer the feeling that a fight was
going to break out. I enjoyed Driver’s character a lot during this scene
because he didn’t seem scared; it was hard to read his emotions. It was clear
to see that Irene was in fear that a fight would break out. Standard seemed to
be bothered, and was probably expecting Driver to respond in away that a fight
would start. But the way he responded didn’t give anything for Standard to take
in. He could not read driver, so he didn’t know what kind of person he was.
There are times where driver is quite, but he has
his moments when his character is really troubled, his character is frightening
to look at.
In one scene he is a café and man walks up to him
talking about pulling a job with him. And instead of giving a short answer, like,”yes,
maybe, sure” he took control of the conversation. In the previous example we
see driver was not in control on the conversation with Standard he was playing
defense. It occurs when he is serious, or angered when he quickly takes control
of the conversation. So when the man asked him for another heist, driver
“How about this? Shut your mouth, or I'll kick
your teeth down your throat and I'll shut it for you.”
It is amazing how this character can catch you
off guard. We do not know anything about him, we don’t know about the things he
has done, or been exposed to. So when see a soft spoken, quite guy we expect
him to hold that character, but when he erupts, its scary because when he said
that line above to the man, he wasn’t screaming or yelling. He said it calm,
but sharp voice that gave you the impression that he was going to do it, and
also another great thing with that, when the man left, driver’s eyes stayed on
him until he left.
But lastly as far dialogue, one of the best from driver
is towards the end. It is when Shannon tells the thugs about Irene, and it is
the first time we see and hear driver curse, and yell.
[Driver meets Shannon after he's killed one of
Nino's thugs in front of Irene]
Driver: They came to my apartment, Shannon. How did they
know where I live?
Shannon: I told you, I was gonna call Bernie. I just
wanted him to know that...that it wasn't about that you're not interested in
the money. That you...you just did it for the girl.
[suddenly Driver grabs Shannon by the throat
Shannon: Calm down!
Driver: You told them about Irene?
Shannon: Calm down, kid! That's it! Just calm down!
Driver: You told them about Irene?
Shannon: I just...I just wanted him to know, that as soon
as you return the money, that was the end of it. That's all! I didn't know! How
was I supposed to know? How was I supposed to know that? Okay? Look, let me
just...let me just talk to Bernie, okay?
Driver: Why you gotta fuck everything up, Shannon? Huh?
Why do you fuck everything up? Get the fuck out of here, and never come back.
This scene was very impactful because this is the
first time we see driver falling apart, throughout the film he does kill, but
he always seems to remain calm, but here, he yells,” YOU TOLD THEM ABOUT
IRENE”. It was unexpected and I had to see if it was actually him speaking but
I was expecting him to curse, and yell he way he did.
Visually the movie is wonderful, from the amazing
camera angles to, insane lighting effects, this movie has it all. A great
component this movie does extremely well is getting really great angles. Since
a lot of the time we are in the car, they make great use of the rear view
mirror. So when we do not see driver’s face, we can see his eyes, and what they
are doing. A really great shot as far as camera was when he decided to give the
family a ride. When he asked if they wanted to see something cool. The camera
was in a position so that driver was in the shot, and Irene was in the shot.
But Benicio wasn’t, but because of the rear view mirror that was in the shot we
could see his head. So instead of the camera changing to his face, when Irene
asked if the wanted to see something cool, we could see his head nod yes in the
mirror. It was an amazing shot.
As far as lighting on of the best scenes in the
film was the elevator. When he gets into a fight in front of Irene. When he
senses danger he kisses her and as they kiss, the lighting starts to dim down,
and the soft music starts to play that normally plays when he is with her, but
the music starts to get violent and the light comes back on, and he quickly
snaps and attacks. This scene was beautiful. The editing was very well done.
What they decided to show, the different angles given. Mostly it shines in the
car. They did a great job giving you the fell that you are in the car with driver.
The set up was great as well they took you to
very distinct places, which was very interesting. Normally in driving movies
you are distracted by random people walking by, or certain structures. In
Drive, I found myself glued on the main characters, and the locations. From the
elevator, to a pizzeria, even to the outback of California.
None of the characters seem to have a good
relationship with another. The two villains, or bad guys, aren’t always on the
same page. One thinks he is bigger than he actually is, the other, is just
trying to clean up a mess made by the other. Irene and her husband being in jail
must have caused major problems. Driver and Shannon not being able to keep his
mouth shut, and many more.
Lastly I would like to go over Drivers character,
and one of the biggest props in the film, his scorpion jacket. Towards the end
of the film when he is having a conversation with the final villain, the
villain says, “Do you know the story of the scorpion and the frog?” and that’s
it. He doesn’t go into detail with it. But if you know the story with it being
about a scorpion that wants to cross the river on the back of the frog, and the
frog says no because he doesn’t want to get stung, and finally the frog lets
him ride. Then halfway through the frog gets stung, and he asks why now we both
are going to die, and the scorpion replies it’s in my nature. This explains the
main character perfectly. His jacket incorporates a lot of the different
aspects of the film, music, camera angles, lighting, and special effects. The
reason why is because Ryan Gosling’s character wants to help out, he wants to
be a real hero, meaning he wants to be a real human being. But it is in his
nature to mess everything up. So just like it is in the nature for the scorpion
to sting, it is in his nature to ruin things. The jacket incorporates music
because it was used in the opening credits to for shadow certain events. The
camera only showed him walking but focused on the scorpion and focused on Irene
walking by him. Showing that he was going to meet her soon and hurt her. Every
time he does something bad, or misses up it shows his scorpion on his jacket.
So the first time this occurs is in the opening scene to for shadow the up
coming events. The second time is when pulls of the job with Standard and it
goes wrong. And he calls Irene to tell her the news. But when he does that the camera focuses on his back as he
tries to call her. So he tries to help out with the heist, and it goes wrong
resulting in the husband’s death, making things worse. So he wants to call
Irene to help out more, but she doesn’t answer, then later he kills two people
trying to kill him. And gets stained with their blood on his jacket. So he know
he has the blood on his victims that he has stung on his jacket. Next he goes
to find someone who was responsible and attacks him, but before he does the
camera shows his scorpion and then shows him attacking the man. Next the elevator
scene used amazing lighting for this scene. Once again driver wants to set
things straight and help but as they get on the elevator with this mysterious
man, driver knows that he can’t have what he wants, to he kisses Irene, and
then stomps the man’s head in getting blood all over his jacket, and as the
Irene steps out and watches drivers scorpion unleashed the camera shows his scorpion
and shows his heavy breathing making the scorpion move.
So basically driver is a dangerous person, he
wants to be with someone but he fears that he is too dangerous to be around
others. And even though he wants to hide his stinger from Irene, and show that
he can be a real human being, in the end it turns out that he is just an
animal, a scorpion and leaves a trail of destruction in his path.
In the end of the film, it is amazing without
spoiling anything it is amazing how the elevator plays a big character. It is
important at the beginning of driver and Irene’s relationship, and the end to
it, and it is amazing to see how when the film ends it starts over from the
beginning. I am not going to say anymore on that topic. But when you watch it
you will understand the meaning behind it. Even thought this film has to set of
storylines, one being focused on the threat, and driving, and the other being
Irene. I think that both fall short without each other. None of them are that
great to stand-alone. It is only together to see that it is amazing how this
film can balance out two plots.
I give Drive a 9.5 /10 this is a film that has
been looked down, and underrated. Do not go into this film expecting the cliché
of other driving movies, this movie, is more of an art. With a great cast,
amazing music, lighting, special effects, it has everything. Although some
seems may seem slow or odd to some, I loved the film. It shows you that a
simple action such as driving can be a lot more to someone else. Many people do
different things on their free time, whether it’s a movie, a bike ride,
anything. This movie isn’t about his skills at driving, or about his fighting
methods. It is about showing you that when he says he drives, that’s all he
does. And that no matter what relationship he has that gets broken or taken
away, in the end, the only relationship he will always be able to keep, is with
“There is something inside you, it’s hard to
explain, they’re talking about you boy, but you’re still the same.”