The film Drive directed by Nicolas Winding and written by Hossein Amini is about a getaway driver. Played by Ryan Gosling, he portrays a nonattached male known as Driver that works as a stunt driver during the day and a getaway driver at night. Also, referred to as “a loner by nature” (DRIVE 2011) in rotten tomatoes description of the Driver’s character. We see Driver go from a board person that has nothing to look forward to, to someone that has a family and a different perspective of life, and back to being alone. We learn what Driver is willing to do for their loved ones when they are put in danger.
Drive is described as “LA pulp thriller, very brutal, very slick” by Peter Bradshaw. In the opening scene we meet Driver an unattached, no feelings male in his early to mid-twenties. While making a deal for a getaway job he states his rules, five minutes only and no guns. “You give me a time and place, I give you a five minute window… Whatever goes down I’m yours. Minute either side you’re on your own… ” he makes it clear he carries no weapons and he is only the getaway driver. In the scene we learn that he already has his route planned out and has timed the getaway job with the local NBA game going on in the area.
We also notice how cautious he is to not leave a trace. Driver uses a burner phone with a number that can’t be traced. He informs the client that he will not be able to reach him on that number again. This scene helps us understand the character of Driver at the beginning of the film. A few things happen in scene one of Drive, we do not see Driver’s face while making the deal, he is looking out into the city from his poorly lit apartment at night. We do see a map with his escape route planned out and the basketball game on the television. Other things that are noticed in scene one are Driver’s scorpion jacket and his empty apartment.
I believe this helps set up the characters current lifestyle and emotional state. Driver has no family and he is bored, that could be the reason that he is seeking entertainment by breaking the law. We have no background music to set the viewer’s mood, all we have is the script and the noises from the city. The city noises and no background music could have been to make the viewer’s feel as if they are in the room with driver. So we have learned a few things about Driver in the first scene, he is organized, serious, and lonely. Between the opening scene and the next scene to be evaluated, Driver meets his neighbor Irene and her son Benecio.
Driver and Irene grow close and Driver begins to feel as if they are his family. Standard, Irene’s husband is released from prison and forced to rob a pawn shop or else Irene and Benecio will get hurt. When Driver finds out about the pawn shop heist he offers his services in exchange for Irene and Benecio to be left alone. The second scene that we will be discussing, is the scene with the second car chase after the pawn shop robbery. At this point in the film Standard—Irene’s husband—has been introduced and killed off during the pawn shop robbery. Driver had the same deal with Standard, five minutes and he carries no gun.
While waiting for Standard and Blanche-femme fatal of the movie—a second car shows up. Blanche exits the pawn shop and gets in the car with Driver, Standard follows but only to get shot and killed before he came make it to the car. This scene is very important because we see Driver get out of the car and attempt to help Standard, after realizing that there is nothing that can be done he gets back in the car and speeds off. The second car chases, speeding through surfaces streets, in and out of traffic, Driver causes for the second car to lose control and crash.
In this scene we do not have any background music just like the opening scene, it’s one of the few action scenes that was shot during the day. This whole scene is shot from the inside of Driver’s car, giving us only his side of the story. With Blanche in the back seat the camera tends to cut to her facial expressions during the car chase. We see fear in Blanche facial expressions when the second car loses control, we clearly hear the sounds of the tires squeaking, and the crash as if we were in the car with Driver and Blanche.
Even though there is no music to build suspense, the viewers are left with a more realistic scene by hearing everything that would happen in a car crash without the distraction of a soundtrack. It is in this scene where I and Chris Stuckman believe Driver’s character takes a turn for the worse (Chris Stuckmann). “Driver and Blanche hear on the news that the pawn shop owner had any money stolen, and with the death of Standard, the second unknown car being at the heist, and Blanche’s obvious deception Driver Starts his descend into darkness” (Chris Stuckmann).
The car chase scene is important because it is in this scene that we begin to see Driver’s character develop. While waiting for Standard and Blanche, the second car appears and Driver seems to get a tad nervous and I would even say anxious. This shows that Driver cares about the outcome of this heist. When Standard got shot, Driver attempted to get out of the car to help him. Showing that he is worried for Standard is a huge development for Driver. In his previous jobs he had no attachment to the criminals that he was assisting.
But in this heist he is emotionally attached due to his new family being in danger. After the car chase and a bloody hotel scene, Driver decides to go after the person that set up the heist. In the process, Driver looks for Irene and confesses his involvement in the heist that got Standard killed. While at Irene’s home a gentleman comes up in the elevator and after making eye contact with Driver he states that he got the wrong floor. Irene gets in the elevator and Driver follows. It might have been out of intuition, but Driver knew that the gentleman was sent to go after Driver, Irene, and her son.
While in the elevator, Driver kisses Irene in this scene we have obvious editing choices to get the viewer to feel as if they are in the elevator as well. There was no music playing in this scene until the kiss. The lights get brighter and everything is in slow motion during the kissing scene. This kiss has been referred to as Driver and Irene’s “goodbye kiss” it might be because Driver knows that Irene will want nothing to do with him after she sees what he has planned to do. After the kiss, Driver turns around and pushes the man that was sent after them into the elevator and smashes his head.
Causing the man to fall on the floor, Driver kicks him in the face and continues to do so multiple times until his skull has shattered open, The elevator scene is the final stage of the development for Driver’s character. We see Driver going from passionately kissing Irene to violently kicking a in the head until his skull has been cracked open. From this scene we learn that Driver will stop at nothing to protect who he now considers family. After Irene witnesses what Driver is capable of doing she exits at elevator and is left starring at Driver with fear clearly expressed on her face.
This is the last scene where we witness the presence of Irene. The development of the character from beginning to end is as if he did a 360. He starts off at the beginning of the film lonely, bored, and a criminal. In the middle of the film he has found himself a family—Irene and Benecio—who he has been spending time with, and has not done any getaway jobs. At the end of the film I wondered why Driver would go so far to protect Irene met her. The article by O. Scott in The New York Times where he says “Her innocence is axiomatic and part of the reason the driver goes to such messianic lengths to protect her.
Driver loved Irene and Benecio, but he also felt that she was fragile and needed to be taken care off. At the end of the film, Driver is back to being alone and being a criminal but this time around he has blood on his hands. We see Driver go from being a getaway driver that carries no weapons to a getaway driver that has now murdered multiple people in order to protect his loved ones. The editing, score, and cinematography of this film makes the viewers feel as if they are in the scene right next to Driver.