The Greatest Scene EVER *This Week: Drive (2011)

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(Doug Porter – Staff Writer)

2011 was a banner year for movies but one movie that came out was a movie that divided alot of people. Drive starring Ryan Gosling followed the story of a Hollywood stunt driver/mechanic who lived a secret life as a getaway driver for the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. The movie was full of some really talented actors including Bryan Cranston, Oscar Issacs, and the love interest to Ryan Gosling, Carrey Mulligan. The second half of the movie revolves a lot around Mulligan’s family and the effect that the partnership of Gosling/Issacs has on their lives as the seedy underbelly starts to aim its sights at Driver and his associates. The scene I will be talking about today occurs in the first half of the movie when things are still calm and full of quaint moments showing how 2 lives can come together in a matter of moments.

We find out very early early in the movie that Irene and Driver are neighbors, and they know of each other but don’t know each other. After finding her and her son stranded in a grocery store parking lot because of a busted car, he takes her home and has the very standard getting to know you talk. Now to skip ahead to the scene I am referring to, Driver has taken Irene and Benencio on a nice little adventure and he has carried her son to bed using his infamous jacket as a blanket for little Benencio. Now before looking at this scene let’s remember that most modern movies now are full of scene guiding dialogue and lots of cuts to help keep the audience focused on the screen.

The first thing that jumps out on this scene, it is done in one single take. We see Driver sitting by the window looking out at Downtown LA when Irene walks over to him with his jacket. This whole scene is meant to show the beginning of the feelings they share for one another but very little is actually spoken and in a true Art imitating Life moment the characters really don’t speak much but communicate more through their eyes and body language. When you first start developing feelings for someone you don’t sit next to each other and have a expostional talk about your feelings. No, you look into each other’s eyes, you have a small amount of awkward tension in the air, but it’s the sitting next to each other and how you look at each other that speaks your feelings.

That is what the director Nicolas Winding Refn does here: body language, sweet eyes, awkward small talks. The entirety of the scene leads to Driver offering to take Irene anywhere she needs to go that weekend as she has no car at the moment. A very good gesture that shows compassion, the difference being they stared at each other speechless for a very long moment before either of them spoke. Also the camera has never changed, still it sits in a neutral space between them, capturing the moment that 2 people realize they have some real feelings for the other person. The thing about this scene and other scenes like it in the movie is, this kind of filmmaking turned alot of people off of the movie. This style of filmmaking is a very classic movie, art house style of shooting, so for a studio to put out this film with this style to a large audience, most of those going to see the new Gosling movie didn’t understand the nuances that were being conveyed. But it’s those nuances in this scene, that make this my “Greatest Scene Ever *This Week.”

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