I was drawn to this film by its first trailer. It seemed to me like a film that was intriguing and that had an interesting sense of style. I also love crime films, especially LA crime films like Heat, and Collateral, so that’s what brought me to the theatre to see it.
Drive is a LA crime film, about a nameless Hollywood stunt driver (played by Ryan Gosling) who at night is a getaway driver for many criminals.
Drive is both a narrative and an experience driven film. While it does have a strong plot, the story particularly focuses on the Driver and the world that he lives in. The story follows a basic three act structure that works very well here because it provides the opportunity to simply tell the plot, while trying to convey the emotional experience of the film.
The character of the Driver is also very interesting to look at. To me, he seems like he’s half human, half machine. Like a knight in shiny armor, a protector, and somebody that solves problems for others. He is somebody who just does, and does not spend time thinking about the consequences. He does what he feels is right. This is what “drives” the story and his character forward, his actions. The driver is put in a situation where he must help his neighbors in need, but when the husband, Standard (Oscar Issac) is killed by gangsters, he helps out the wife Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos) by making sure that the people who were responsible for Standard’s death get what they deserve. The Driver is also a very quiet, and stoic character. It is through his actions and behavior that we really understand him. His dialogue is simple and direct. He doesn’t tell us much, especially about himself, and most importantly it doesn’t move the story forward. He says what needs to be said, but he does rest.
A strange part of this story is that the background of the Driver is never actually given. The only piece of information that we ever learn from his background is that one day, he just asked Shannon (Bryan Cranston) for a job in his garage and has worked their ever since. Other than that, we learn nothing about him. We only understand the Driver by what the film shows us about him.
A great storytelling lesson that I learned in this film is that knowing very little about a character than knowing a lot about them can be an amazing way to really create somebody who is special, and original. While I can’t mention one scene in particular, overall, we don’t really know who the driver is by the end of the film. By providing very little information about him, the audience is forced to ask themselves who they think he is. By having the Driver be as ambiguous as he is in this film, it subconsciously invites the audience to participate in this story, by adding their own thoughts and opinions of who they think the Driver is. We begin to decide who the Driver is.
The film ends with the Driver getting stabbed by, but eventually killing the antagonist of the film, gangster Bernie Ross (Albert Brooks). He then leaves, and just drives away. I felt that this was an excellent ending. He did what he felt he had to do, and then just simply drove away. How else could it have ended?