ARTYFACTS: Drive - nothing to do with cars

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Drive - nothing to do with cars

He arrives and departs like a comet, enters from whatever darkness he’s come from and speeds off into that blackness when he leaves. Played like an automaton, there are no clues to what’s going on inside his head. He’s at one with the cars he drives, as mindless as a machine, doesn’t do dialogue and has eyes like headlight – he rarely blinks. It’s a little derivative in that No Country From Old Men is the character inspiration, but it works.
This makes the relationship and violence all the more brutal and unexpected. He accelerates from zero to a hundred in the split of a second. The film has a series of harrowing scenes where the violence is pure venom with absolutely no dilution or glamour. Strangely enough, this is what gives the film its tragic depth. He acts in a moral manner but only against those who want to hurt others. Like Frankenstein, he protects those who shows him kindness. But he has to go all the way and they all must die.
This could have been a truly awful car chase movie but it’s the opposite as it has very little to do with cars and everything to do with instinct and ‘drive’. What drives people to be as they are and do what they do? Ultimately, it’s the drive to survive. I know this sounds a little contrived but it I suspect it is an attempt at a tragic metaphor for life itself. He’s born from nothing, gets entangled with the struggle of a family and the brutality of a Hobbesian world, but there’s no real resolution, the struggle continues.


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