Writing & Filmmaking Lessons From DRIVE (2011)

DRIVE Video Essay

The crime drama DRIVE, with a screenplay by Hossein Amini adapted from a James Sallis novel, established Ryan Gosling as a bona fide star.

Made on an indie budget, it went on to become a hit with audiences and critics worldwide and for a few years the soundtrack became inescapable.

Set in Los Angeles, Ryan Gosling stars as the unnamed driver. By day he works at his friend Shannon’s (Bryan Cranston) garage and drives stunts for the movies.

By night he uses his skills as a getaway driver, giving his client a time and a place to pick them up. Soon he becomes mixed up with a scheme with low-level crooks Nino (Ron Perlman) and Bernie (Albert Brooks), who risk destroying everything he has.

DRIVE is known for its unflinching violence. It’s now a trademark of Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, who won the Best Director Award at Cannes in 2011 where DRIVE premiered.

Refn started out with Copenhagen-set drug world thriller PUSHER and came to greater attention with twisted prison drama BRONSON (starring Tom Hardy).

Post-DRIVE, he’d go on to the more polarising efforts ONLY GOD FORGIVES (reuniting with Gosling) and fashion world dreamy horror THE NEON DEMON.

But at the centre of DRIVE is a surprisingly quiet and tender almost-love story.

It deserves a lot of the credit for DRIVE’s continuing reputation as one of the best films of the decade.

This scene, between Gosling’s driver and Irene (Carey Mulligan), demonstrates why.

Check out the video below.

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