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Drive – Movie Review

By Michael Law


I can honestly say Drive is one of my favourite films of all time. Everything that’s being shot has been thought about thoroughly and has a purpose. The film tells the story of the Driver (Ryan Gosling) who is a skilled Hollywood stuntman, with a secret life as a getaway driver. He meets and becomes friendly with his neighbour Irene and her son Benicio. As the Driver starts to spend more time with her, he develops feelings for her, then her husband is released from jail and enlists the Driver’s help for a planned heist. When the planned raid goes horribly wrong, the Driver must not only protect himself but Irene and Benicio as well, with severe consequences.

I feel Newton Thomas Sigel absolutely nailed the role of the cinematographer for Drive. Drive in general has a very elegant lighting system which matches the tone of the film perfectly. The colours used are dark and gritty which I believe suits the manner of the film perfectly. As well as the technical aspect of Drive, the writers have thought hard about the Driver’s character and his persona. The way the Driver changes throughout the film is significant and can easily be seen by the audience, but this is what draws you in.

There are certain parts of the filming which has been done for a reason, such as framing and blocking, and this includes the quadrant system. The quadrant system uses three methods of dissection to emphasise storylines. When filming, you divide the screen up into left and right, top and bottom or top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right. This obviously depends on what type of story you are trying to get across to your audience. Drive is the first film I’ve seen execute the quadrant system and do it perfectly.


This shot easily shows the story of the driver on the left and the story of Irene on the right. Firstly, the right side of the screen shows the closest character to the audience in terms of the screen, this is the emotional side of the screen. This is emphasized through Irene looking around to the driver when she’s on the right and then the driver looking over to Irene when he’s opening his door. We can easily see the character’s feelings through their facial expressions and their body language. This is filmed in one shot, although it’s filmed in one, the purpose of the shot changes when the characters cross the quadrant line and the driver is on the right and Irene is on the left. This then makes the left side of the screen the calm side due to the character’s cool nature when in it.


This is the opposite side to the quadrant system; the characters have switched position and powers in the scene. Another camera technique is when the Driver is speaking to Irene in her house, the camera is facing Irene, but we can see the driver in a mirror next to her, which places them side by side. Although they are speaking across from each other, the camera places them both together which is where they both secretly want to be. Not only does this film use camera techniques and blocking to intrigue the audience, Drive uses a memorable and effective soundtrack that not only introduces you to a selection of talented artists but transports you into the world of the film, showing how much the storyline and the characters have an impact upon the audience.
To conclude this review, Drive is a fantastic film that was nominated for an Oscar and has won 77 other awards since its release and I feel will be enjoyed by many. Feel the same about this film? let us know in the comments and give your own opinions.