Drive 2011 ★★★★★

This review reportedly contains spoilers.
I can handle the truth.


  • I am a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn, he is one of my favoured directors. I thought this film was great!

  • Excellent review! I love this film and it has caused me to seek out Refn's other work. To date I've also seen Bronson and Valhalla Rising. I didn't like either as much as Drive, but they're both good in my opinion.

  • Thank you!

    The Pusher films are pretty great, and really help you appreciate
    Drive a lot more as you can see from the context of my review. Haven't seen Valhalla Rising yet though.

  • Good review, and I agree with most, but I strongly disagree with your view of The Driver "He is a psychopath, hellbent on lying and cheating to get his way. He has no regard for people other than Irene, and even then, his relationship to her is questionable."

    I don't think he enjoys his criminality anymore than the other characters, if anything I'd say he enjoys it less. Remember, You tell me where we start, where we're going, where we're going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on 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.

    That's what he does, nothing too serious. Perhaps he feels like he is obligated to do it because he feels bad for Shannon. Only when things go to shit and his life is threatened does he fight back, because he has no choice. Literally kill or be killed. That doesn't make him a villain at all. He is indeed the hero

  • @Cinebro I plan on seeing the Pusher trilogy very soon. Valhalla Rising definitely worth watching. It ranks 3rd out of the 3 Refn films I've seen and it seems to be very polarizing on this site, but I definitely recommend giving it a go.

  • @Rick,

    I'm still convinced he's a psychopath that we really shouldn't be rooting for, but then again, I really haven't seen the film since my second viewing last year in theaters. I'll have to watch it again, and see what you mean.

  • I always felt that this movie felt like a western to me and how the driver comes in out of nowhere gets into disagreement with people and then leaves at the end, but I felt like the driver cares about the people who he is taking care of because he only did the job for Standard was to help out Irene and her kid because he really cares about her and the kid and in a way, it is like the family that he never had or will never have. I always felt that the end when it shows Irene walking by the driver's door that it was unsure if she is happy that he is gone or that maybe she feels that he is safe again and not having people chasing him down. I read a review with Ryan Gosling where he said that he felt like the character of driver believes that he is a knight trying to slay the dragon and safe the damsel in distress when in reality he is just living in a dream world and he is really bad guy despite how much he wants to be the good guy and safe people.

  • Interesting that this is the beginning of a Refn/Gosling trilogy (possibly more), if all goes to plan. If this is anything to go by, we are in for a treat. Drive/Only God Forgives/Logans Run.

  • I read a review with Ryan Gosling where he said that he felt like the character of driver believes that he is a knight trying to slay the dragon and safe the damsel in distress when in reality he is just living in a dream world and he is really bad guy despite how much he wants to be the good guy and safe people.

    This is exactly how I feel about the film. He doesn't really seem to be interested in the safety of Irene at all. In fact, he doesn't really take interest in her until he sees she has a kid, and that's when he sees her as someone who is innocent. The only person he has any real empathy for is the kid. In fact, most scenes with The Driver are more stylized than others.

  • I agree that he seems to be partially motivated by "being the good guy" but I don't think there's anything that really makes him a bad guy. A life of crime, yet, but only as a driver. He naively gets involved in Shannon's deal with Bernie and things turn bad quickly. Perhaps his ability to fight and exact revenge might hint at a prior time in his life when he was a bad guy, and something made him straighten out a bit. He sees Standard going down that path and Irene/Benicio give him a reason to get involved.

    That's just speculation though, who knows. But I don't see anything in the film that makes him a bad guy, let alone psychopathic.

    Oh, and(spoiler alert) I'm remembering the scene when Standard gets shot, The Drive seems really freaked out. He's not used to stuff like this, it's not what he does. This event and what follows is what drives him to do what he does. And this is self preservation. He tries his best to help Shannon and he does the same for Irene. I think he is genuine.

  • DRIVE was one of my favorites from last year. It convinced me that Ryan Gosling is the standout actor of his generation. Carey Mulligan doesn't even have to speak. She says everything with her eyes. The use of the police radio during the opening car chase was incredibly effective. Love DRIVE.

  • See I always thought that the scene on Standard getting shor is more like how he wants everything to go as planned and that didn't work out as planned and then he thought about helping him but he knew that it would not do anythign because he was already dead. I don't think that he is stone clod because he cares about Irene some because in a way it seems like he loves her, but we really don't know what love means to him. There is that great scene in the elevator were he kisses her with this passionate and sexy sexy and then he smashes that guys face in with all the violent kicks and it is like he knew that he would never end up seeing her again and that is why he kissed her for. I don't think that he is psychopathic, but he is crazy because all the violence that he sees and does doesn't seem to bother him and you can guess that maybe something in his past made him immune to that or maybe the fact that he sees all the stuff in Hollywood when he does the stunts makes him immune.

  • You might be right Aaron, I'm not sure, I'd have to rewatch it. I guess the scene in the hotel room is similar, the look on his face could be plain shock or it could be the shock of the plan getting so fucked up. I think I'm leaning towards he's not used to it at all, even though he is very good at it

    I think he truly cares about Irene, in what way I'm not totally sure. At first he is very hesitant in getting involved in her life, but she and Benicio quickly become the only thing he cares about, more than his own life.

  • I think he does care about Irene but we are just not sure to what extent it is because he wanted her to be happy and safe as well as her son and that is why he wanted to help Standard. I am curious if he had fallen in love with other girls in other towns and had to leave as well as a moments notice. We never can tell by the blank expression on his face that he cares most of the film.

  • Refn has stated he thinks of Driver as a heroic figure which is why he chose the songs he did.

    For me the film is an urban fairytale, a tale of chivalry.

    Driver is the chivalrous knight one moment, and the gore drenched barbarian the next.
    One CANNOT exist without the other in this man's world...NOT if the pure princess and her innocent child are to be saved.

    He might be tarnished, lost, even tragic but that chivalry is there. His violence is nothing to do with anything. He had no weapon, so he killed the guy who had come to kill them with is foot.
    Brutal, but what other choice? He had to take him down and have him stay down.

    The other violence is explicit self defence (hotel) or vengeance & self/woman he cares for preservation.

    The most honourable Knight will have to cleave skulls open with his sword to rescue/protect the Princess. Brutal as that might be for any onlookers.

  • I can't see how you could even give the film such a big star rating if you see Driver like you do.

    If I felt as negative towards his character as you do, given the way the movie is plotted with a non-judgemental/heroic attitude towards Driver, the film wouldn't work for me.

  • See, the thing is, he sees himself as that knight, but in reality he's not. Since most of the movie is viewed through The Driver's eyes, we 're essentially being told a story through an unreliable narrator. Notice the contrast between scenes with The Driver and other scenes where he's not present.

    Any other Hollywood film would have us root for this character. The reality of who this guy is quite detestable. This is the kind of guy we hope gets a long sentence when we see them on the news. I liked how the film is Refn turning that mentality on its head, and ultimately embracing the style in the process.

  • What a brilliant review. I honestly never thought about the driver actually being a villain. You have totally flipped my world upside down and for that I thank you.

  • I think comparing Drive and Le Samourai is a spot on statement. Well written review.

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