Drive (2011 film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Drive is a 2011 American action-drama heist film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, and starring Ryan Gosling as the principal character, with Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, and Albert Brooks. Although Drive shares several characteristics with the similarly-named 1978 Walter Hill car-chase film, The Driver, (which also centers around a Los Angeles-based, unnamed, expert getaway car driver who speaks very little), it is actually adapted from the 2005 James Sallis novel of the same name, with a screenplay by Hossein Amini.

Like the book, the movie is about a Hollywood stunt performer (played by Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver. Prior to its September 2011 release, it had been shown at a number of film festivals. At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Drive was praised and even received a standing ovation. Reviews from critics have been positive, with many drawing comparisons to work from previous eras. Praise has also been given to Gosling's and Brooks' performances. The director has said influences came from Bullitt (1968) and The Day of the Locust (1975); and that Drive was a tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Plot

The unnamed Driver works as a mechanic, a stunt double, a stunt driver, as well as a criminal-for-hire getaway car driver. His jobs are all managed by auto shop owner Shannon, who persuades Jewish mobsters Bernie Rose and Nino to purchase a car for the Driver to race. The Driver meets his new neighbor, Irene, and grows close to her and her young son, Benicio. Their budding relationship is interrupted when Irene's husband, Standard Gabriel, is released from prison.

Standard owes protection money from his time in prison and is beaten up by Albanian gangster Cook, who demands that Standard rob a pawnshop for $40,000 to pay off the debt. Cook gives Benicio a bullet as a symbol that he and his mother are in danger. The Driver, concerned for the safety of Irene and Benicio, offers to act as the getaway driver for the pawnshop robbery.

The job goes awry when the pawnshop owner shoots and kills Standard while the Driver is waiting for him with Cook's accomplice, Blanche. Pursued by a mysterious adversary, the Driver and Blanche escape after an intense car chase. The Driver hides with Blanche in a motel where he learns from a news report that Standard, according to the pawnshop owner, performed the robbery by himself and that no money had been stolen. When she lies about being oblivious to the second car when the Driver interrogates her, he slaps Blanche and threatens to hurt her to get her to talk. Blanche then admits that the bag contains a million dollars and that she and Cook planned to re-steal the money using the car that chased them. Two of Cook's men ambush them in the motel room, and kill Blanche before the Driver manages to kill them both.

At the auto shop, Shannon offers to hide the money, but the Driver refuses. He hunts down Cook in a strip club, smashes his fingers with a hammer, threatens to kill him, and force-feeds him the bullet that was given to Benicio. Cook reveals that Nino was behind the robbery. The Driver decides to return the money, but Nino dismisses the offer and instead sends a hit man to the Driver's apartment building. Entering the elevator with Irene, the Driver encounters the hit man. He then kisses Irene, and brutally beats the hit man to death. Afterwards, Irene leaves the elevator stunned and horrified.

At his pizzeria, Nino reveals to Bernie that a low-level Philadelphia wise guy from the "East Coast mob" stashed the money at the pawnshop. Since anyone tied to the robbery could lead the East Coast Italian Mafia to them, they need to kill everyone involved. Bernie warns Nino that nobody steals from the Italian Mob. Nino is angry because the Italian Mob has marginalized and insulted him because of his Jewish heritage. He convinces Bernie to follow his plan. Bernie then murders Cook, as he is the sole witness to their agreement. After Shannon refuses to divulge the whereabouts of the Driver, Bernie kills him at the auto shop with a straight razor.

The Driver, disguising himself with a rubber mask from his stuntman job, follows Nino from the pizzeria to the Pacific Coast Highway and T-bones Nino's car onto a beach, then chases him from the wreck to the ocean and drowns him. He makes a phone call to Irene to tell her he is leaving and that meeting her and Benicio was the best thing that ever happened to him. The Driver goes to meet Bernie, who promises that Irene will be safe in exchange for the money. He gives Bernie the money, but Bernie attempts to kill him, stabbing him in the stomach. Driver pulls out his own knife and fatally stabs Bernie. Driver then abandons the money and leaves. Irene knocks at the Driver's apartment, but gets no response. The Driver drives off into the night.

Music

Refn chose Johnny Jewel of Desire and the Chromatics to score the film. He wanted electronic music and to have it be abstract, on occasion, so viewers can see things from the Driver's perspective. As Refn was going through mixer Jewel's catalog, he picked out "Under Your Spell" and "Tick of the Clock" because he thought of Drive being a fairy tale. During DriveTemplate:'s climax, "A Real Hero"'s keynote melody, about becoming "a real human being, and a real hero", refrains because that is when the Driver displays both those characteristics. At first, Jewel worried that "Under Your Spell" might be too literal, but soon realized it is used in Drive "in the exact same way that I was feeling it when I wrote it. He definitely got the nuance of the song, and understood what it was supposed to mean, and he wanted to give that emotion to the viewer, that same feeling."

Thinking of music in terms of basic elements, Jewel would tell the director that for certain scenes, it should not have bass since, as an earth tone, it is usually used for a more emotional or ominous part. Jewel thought the music should be in the upper register and relaxing for the "dreamlike" scene. To help himself with the music composition process, and to conjure up melodies, the producer would highlight many phrases from the novel, then print those words in large font, and hung them on his walls or draw pictures during viewings of Drive.

Although Jewel's music was used in the score, at the last minute the studio hired composer Cliff Martinez to imitate the style and feel of Jewel's bands Chromatics and Glass Candy. Refn him a sampling of songs he liked and asked Martinez to emulate the sound, resulting in "a kind of retro, 80ish, synthesizer europop". Editor Mat Newman suggested DriveTemplate:'s opening credits song: "Nightcall" by French electronic musician Kavinsky. Most of its ethereal electronic-pop score was composed by Martinez. Refn was a particular fan of his ambient music on the Sex, Lies, and Videotape soundtrack. The score contains tracks with vintage keyboards and bluntly descriptive titles.

Jewel reworked his unused soundtrack for the film into Themes for an Imaginary Film, the debut album by his side-project Symmetry.

A re-scored soundtrack for the film was produced for the BBC by Zane Lowe for its television broadcast in October 2014. The soundtrack included original music from Chvrches, Banks, Bastille, Eric Prydz, SBTRKT, Bring Me the Horizon, The 1975 and Laura Mvula.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Drive (2011 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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