A mysterious driver who works as a stunt man and as a mechanic accepts a contract as the driver of a pawnshop heist to help the husband of the woman he likes. But the driver and the husband are betrayed by the very people who set them on the heist. As the mobster look for the driver, he has to take each of them out before they kill him.
Drive was a neo-classic film with many parallels to The Driver (1978). Except Drive was more stylish and neo-coloured than the original drab and puritan little-known film that inspired it. The soundtrack of this film reinforced the pink neon saturated world the driver lives in and where violence feels like a bad Saturday cartoon.
The car chases in this film are not at the center of the action. There are a few but what they convey is more feeling and ambience than actual spectacular feats and stunts. Many fans like that Driver says little in this film. Compared to Ryan O’Neal in The Driver, Ryan Gosling is very talkative and elaborate!
The cinematography is incredible, as mentioned above. The violence and the photography support one another quite well. The story plays with a romance that never takes off and one almost feels bad for the Driver who loses everything while taking on the responsibility of a fight that was not his. It all feels deterministic and pessimist. Nothing he could have done would have taken him out of the path he ends up in, just by virtue of being such a good driver.
When this movie was released in 2011, many saw it as a possible revival of the great 1960s and 1970s car chase thriller of old when movies did not always end well. Drive emulates this trend but of course, adds post-modern sensibilities to the genre. That’s why it’s at best a neo-classic film but not exactly the real thing. It’s not a criticism against the film. The director took what he had and instead of trying to recreate a world that is not, he told a story that resembles a lot of what feels familiar.
Drive is still a great film even though it is the spiritual child of The Driver.