I was the only person in Theater Three.
By some miracle, when this film came out, it showed in my small hometown. I had no idea what I was really getting into, but I was 17, and I knew I could see it legally. My life was absolutely and undeniably changed by seeing this film, and I was the only one there.
Drive is the cult classic film by Nicolas Winding Refn, who has managed to appear rather frequently on this blog. It has a truly magnificent cast, ranging from Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys) to Carey Mulligan (Far from the Madding Crowd) to Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). I could have gone on, believe me.
Ryan Gosling is the titular driver. He’s a stuntman by day and a getaway driver by night. He meets and bonds with his neighbor (Mulligan) and her son, and they fall in love. Her husband (Isaac) soon returns from prison, though, and it turns out he owes a lot of protection money to some gangsters. The Driver offers to be his getaway driver when the husband robs a bank.
Without saying too much, things go horribly wrong, and The Driver is forced to protect himself and everyone he cares about. Director Nicolas Winding Refn imbues a retro feel to the entire picture, crafting a present-day love letter to 1980s Los Angeles. From the very first moments, you feel like you’re watching something that transcends our time.
Rarely is a film so poetic and pulsingly violent at once, inspiring its own legend before the film is even over. It has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time, and the longing presented here is so tantalizing that I almost forget to breathe. I’m not even kidding.
To this day, I grip my fingers on the steering wheel like The Driver does, and I frankly want to be him. I would still buy his scorpion jacket if given the chance. Seeing this film was a formative experience for me, and it could very well be one for you too.
Drive is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital.