Drive (2011)
April 29, 2016 2:44 AM - Subscribe

A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

Drive is a 2011 American neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The screenplay by Hossein Amini is based on the 2005 novel of the same name by James Sallis. It stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks. (wikipedia)

• The novel Drive by James Sallis was published in 2005.[5] Producers Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions optioned the novel, after Siegel read a review in Publishers Weekly. The driver intrigued Siegel because he was "the kind of character you rarely see anymore – he was a man with a purpose; he was very good at one thing and made no apologies for it." The character interested Platt, because he reminded him of movie heroes he looked up to as a child, characters typically portrayed by Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood.

• Ryan Gosling replaced Hugh Jackman.

• Gosling was given the opportunity to choose the film's director, a first in his career: "And I thought, 'It had to be Nicolas [Winding Refn].' There was no other choice."

• Christina Hendricks plays the small role of Blanche. ”Trying to work in a more reality arena for a character like that," Winding Refn originally auditioned porn stars for Blanche. He was unable to find anyone with the necessary acting talent. After meeting with Hendricks, he decided to cast her, feeling her "powerhouse" persona would click with the character.

• Its opening chase scene involving Gosling's character was primarily filmed by Winding Refn within the car's interior. In an interview, Winding Refn revealed the idea for this scene was to emulate the feeling of a "diver in an ocean of sharks", never leaving the vehicle during a car chase so that the audience can see what's happening from the character's point of view. Tight on money and time, he shot the scene in two days. With two different set-ups prepared in the car, the director found it difficult to have mobility with the camera, so he would then switch the camera to two additional set-ups nearby. As downtown Los Angeles had changed for the better, Refn avoided certain areas to preserve the gloomy atmosphere. Additionally, the scene was shot at low-angles with minimal light.

• Despite the driving storyline, director Nicolas Winding Refn does not have any interest in cars. He doesn't hold a driving license and has failed his driving test 8 times.

• During filming, Carey Mulligan got pulled over for speeding when driving Nicolas Winding Refn home. Her excuse was having too many cans of Red Bull.

• One scene in the film that has no dialog is the elevator sequence, "a series of stunning visuals and graphic imagery that’s a prime example of how the film conveys so many ideas and emotions through images rather than words.” For this, he spoke to Gaspar Noé and asked him how he did the head-smashing scene in Noé's Irréversible (2002)

• Car scenes were filmed with a "biscuit rig", a camera car rig developed for the film Seabiscuit (2003), which allowed stunt driver Robert Nagle to steer the car, freeing Gosling to concentrate on acting. Consistent with Winding Refn's usual visual style, wide-angle lenses were heavily used by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel. Handheld camerawork was avoided.

• Although many stunt drivers are credited, Gosling did a number of stunts himself, after completing a stunt driving car crash course.

• During production, Gosling re-built the 1973 Chevrolet Malibu used in the film, taking it apart and putting it back together.

• Albert Brooks was in character when he met Nicolas Winding Refn, pinning him against a wall and speaking in a threatening manner. Brooks shaved his eyebrows for his role to make his character more emotionless.

• Journalists and reviewers have called Drive a "classic Los Angeles heist-gone-wrong story", a "tribute to the genre of car films" in the vein of movies like Bullitt (1968).

• Refn was inspired by films such as Point Blank (1967), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), The Driver (1978) and Thief (1981).

• The Driver's wardrobe, in particular the satin jacket with the logo of a golden scorpion on the back, was inspired by the band KISS and Kenneth Anger's 1964 experimental film Scorpio Rising.


This movie is a selection of the Shut Up And Drive! club.
posted by valkane (13 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Shut Up And Drive! will be screening this feature tonight, April 29, @ 9:00 pm ET. Click here to watch.
posted by valkane at 2:45 AM on April 29, 2016

For this, he spoke to Gaspar Noé and asked him how he did the head-smashing scene in Noé's Irréversible (2002)

The connection seems obvious, though I hadn't realized it until reading this. I enjoyed Drive a lot. It doesn't have the intensity or the immersiveness of Irreversible or other Noe movies, but it is coherent and fun. It's enjoyable when a director succeeds in making a film like this that is meant to succeed on both commercial and artistic levels.

The character interested Platt, because he reminded him of movie heroes he looked up to as a child, characters typically portrayed by Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood.

I picked up on that when I watched it, but while Gosling does a good job, he is no Steve McQueen.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:14 AM on April 29, 2016

I can't find the interview where I read this, but Oscar Isaac (swoon) said that his character was originally written about as stereotypically as possible, and he was very involved in changing the way Standard spoke, his motivations, his style and personality, etc. It's disappointing that scripts are still being written to the lowest common denominator, but I'm so glad Oscar Isaac was able to get them to reevaluate.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:35 AM on April 29, 2016 [7 favorites]

This movie is just so good. I just watched the trailer and now I am itching to watch the whole film again.
posted by 256 at 6:00 AM on April 29, 2016

The comparison between Drive and Irreversible is fascinating, because the head-smashing scene is one of the most gruesome and unaffected things I have seen in a modern film, and the elevator scene in Drive -- beginning with the swooning kiss between Gosling and Mulligan -- is like a music video from the '80s. Like, even more than the rest of the film. It could be a Prince video. Refn could not have made a more different film if he'd tried, and the now obviously inevitable result was enormous commercial success. Only God Forgives seems like an attempt to do something closer to Noe, but...why?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:29 AM on April 29, 2016

Lisa Hanawalt did an illustrated response to this movie, which you can find online at .
posted by jwgh at 6:30 AM on April 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

A co-worker said she didn't like Drive because Gosling's character seemed inconsistent to her, sometimes mean, sometimes nice. It got me thinking that was the point. The scorpion motif plays up the idea that this is his nature, but then he's also got these practiced routines like his list of rules that suggest he's putting on an act.

One interpretation I find interesting is that the Driver is neurodivergent, and his practiced speeches are like his coping mechanisms. I don't entirely run with this interpretation but when I first watched it, there was something about the way he said that his car didn't have wheels that got me thinking this.
posted by RobotHero at 7:15 AM on April 29, 2016

Love the feel, love the film. Has anyone seen the BBC re-scoring of this? (Well, re-soundtracking?) I missed it and would be intrigued to know what people thought. Is it even available anymore?
posted by comealongpole at 7:18 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I adore this film, although I find the introduction to Blanch frankly bizarre and kind of takes me out of the movie. When the guy introducing her says something like "look at her, she's beautiful" as if it has anything to do with anything.

I took his practiced speeches as his need of a code to keep his violent nature in check. My thinking is that before he worked for Shannon he was into some really bad shit. He can't quite go straight for whatever reason though. Maybe he has a criminal record and only Shannon would hire him, mainly for his getaway driving skills and less his mechanic and stunt driver skills which seem to pay for shit. And Shannon is unlucky after all. The driver's compromise is to clearly explain his boundaries to the people he drives for.

When he's approached by that redneck guy at that diner for a new job his boundary is violated so he shuts him down hard. It shows the audience that he's got a lot of darkness hidden inside his controlled exterior and I think this is the first time it comes out. I think he kisses Irene in the elevator when he does, not so much because he thinks he's going to die, but because he's going to show her the darkness and that she wouldn't want to be with him once she sees it.
posted by Green With You at 9:25 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just watched the trailer and now I am itching to watch the whole film again

9:00 pm tonight.
posted by valkane at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2016

i saw drive then sat in my room staring at the wall until I blacked out, when I woke up I had WHAT WOULD SLOW MOTION RYAN GOSLING IN DRIVE DO? tattooed on my left bicep
posted by Sebmojo at 8:36 PM on May 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

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