Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011


A driver (Ryan Gosling) is looking for a place to park.


A driver has no other choice but to make a living out of stunts or driving gangsters.

I don’t carry a gun. I drive.

He gets closer to his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). Because of her ex-con husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac), the driver gets mixed up in some bad business involving a car dealer named Shannon (Bryan Cranston), two mobsters Bernie (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) and an Albanese criminal who goes by ‘Cook’ (James Biberi).

The driver makes sure Irene and her son don’t get into troubles.

Can I talk to you? I won’t keep you long. I have to go somewhere and I don’t think I can come back. But I just wanted you to know. Getting to be around you and Benicio was the best thing that ever happened to me.

It’s a blood bath. Everyone dies but him. He keeps driving.


Drive is about a road to nowhere.

This driver is the perfect modern anti-hero figure : a self made man, with a cute face, determined, mysterious… dumb. No one should impressed by this guy. He’s the one teenage boys should not want to become. He’s the one teenage girls should make out with early enough to better stay away from in the future.

Here is a man who’s got no name. That’s a problem.

Not talking too much is ok. But he really doesn’t know how to articulate more than three words to explain what he does. That’s a shame.

What do you do?

I drive.

Great! People who don’t have a driving license today suffer from a major handicap. But he drives… and that’s it? Irene is not going to go very far with this man. She can’t have a conversation with him. Therefore it is difficult to make plans with such a person. She’s got a kid and a husband in jail. She needs more than that. She needs stability with holidays on the beach.

He’s hands on.

My hands are a little dirty.

Good. It’s great to be able to rely on a man who knows how to unplug a toilet. Nevertheless, it’s gross.

With no education, people just meet with the wrong persons. They make the wrong connections. Who would like to work for Nino? Even the Italian mobsters make fun of him! In the end, people got the wrong jobs. And they have no alternative.

At the end of the day, the driver is the good guy who is happy to help with the shit job  that no one else wants to do. He would do it anyway, even if nobody had asked him anything. Because he’s nice. He’s the one people make fun of because he’s an idiot.

A lot of guys mess around with married women, but you’re the only one I know who robs a joint just to pay back the husband. Crazy.

He may know all the streets of Philadelphia without navigating system. He may have a great playlist. But by the end of the day he doesn’t make a difference in the world. He’s nothing with nowhere to go and nobody to talk to. He would not have anything to say anyway. He’s a bum. Very soon the cars will be intelligent enough to drive themselves so we will not even need him.

Isn’t it worth going to college? Is it better to spend an entire life behind a wheel than behind a desk? Is it better to drive or to be driven?


This publication reflects the views only of the author.

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