Drive is a visceral experience. Its characters behave as such and the moments caught are ephemeral and fleeting – moments that are explosions of our primal desires, and those that stem from our very surroundings. These are stitched into what is, thankfully, a fairly straightforward story.
It is often said that there are only seven archetypal stories. This film describes the one where boy meets girl, girl is in danger, and boy comes to the rescue. In this case, his stallion is his car, the boy is a driver, and his name is ‘Driver’. This is the meagre information delivered to us and nothing more on the subject is learnt.
It is a fairytale trimmed of beginnings and endings; there is no explanation of why the princess needs rescuing and what comes of the knight’s rescue. Instead, we open on that horseback and gallop until all is well in the kingdom. Very literally, it goes right to the death of the film. An everlasting tale as old as time, the film is sparse in its detail of characters and timeframe.
In this way, it reminds me more of Brick and The Big Lebowski – stories of circumstance and their conclusion – than Magnolia, stubbornly refusing to go into further detail of its world. This is a story about gut feeling and trying to hold onto the very thing we cannot
preserve, the passing moments of life itself. Living moments that are happening right now, rendering context irrelevant.
Credit to the writer for the work he did not do – allowing his people to not talk. They look, they feel. The film is an opera of these looks. Gut feeling drives the characters, and it drives the film. You look into the characters’ eyes and you feel with them.
Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by: Hossein Amini
Featuring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston