Originally Posted by iYen
Whare were some highlights from that paper?
I AM BY NO MEANS A FILM CRITIC.
Drive: Elevator Scene.
The elevator scene in drive is explosive; it’s a visually stunning scene that ties in romance, action, and suspense all at once. The scene is the final turning point in the film and the defining moment of no return for the driver played by Ryan Gosling. The beauty of the scene is that it is both the most romantic and most violent scene in the film at the same time. It’s the first real expression of feelings between Driver and Irene. It’s also where Driver takes his foot and bashes in the would be assassins skull.
In the film, the elevator is used multiple times and has various meanings. Most importantly, the elevator is where Driver first meets Irene, and where he later meets Irene’s son, Benicio. This builds the relationship between Driver and Irene, and Driver and Benicio. This relationship would end up costing him everything he knew, his job, his flow of income, and his friends, but what he doesn’t know is it will also give him a deeper purpose than he ever had before. Sharing multiple encounters in the elevator. Their relationship changes during the course of Driver's life. Where he was before just empty, living day to day. Once he became invested in the two, he was already lost. Second, the elevator is a barrier for the driver. The elevator separates his home and personal life, the essence of who he truly is, from the outside world. Driver rarely speaks, instead his character is a figure of facial expressions living in the moment; a long stare here, a soft smile there, and a cold calloused face when he’s being the illegal get away driver.
Driver is quite the mysterious character; he works odd jobs as a mechanic and a Hollywood stunt driver, while playing the getaway driver for high-risk crimes on the streets of Los Angeles. His liaison to the criminal circuit is looking to set up a racing team funded by money earned from the crimes. This keeps Driver in the mix of things, as he would be one of the main drivers on this team. Driver seeks to get away from this life, but is unknowingly sucked back in when he begins to fall for his neighbor and her son. A few days later, her husband comes home from prison. Standard, the husband of Driver’s new love interest is forced to rob a pawnshop and pay back some very important mobsters their money. Money used to help protect him while he was in jail. The robbery is a botched attempt and Standard is gunned down. During the get away, the mobsters attempt to kill Driver also; this takes care of all loose ends from the attempted robbery. Driver gets away and has the money from the mob. He attempts to save Irene and Benicio, pleading with her that he can take her away from the danger and he can take care of her. The following scene in the film takes place in the very same elevator that they originally met, and is the most important scene in the movie.
It’s important to note that the scene in the elevator has no words. The lack of words is what really brings out the emotion of the scene. You’re not hearing how you should feel, instead your eyes are allowed to tell you the story and build on the emotion and suspense created by your mind. The scene in the elevator begins with Driver and Irene walking into the elevator from the hallway. The assassin is already placed in the elevator.
You can see in the framing how the director is playing on the act that the elevator is such a small space and how confined to an area the three people are. The assassin glances at Driver, noticing the glance and already being on alert from the failed heist moments ago. Driver glances at the assassin, the camera pans down giving a POV of the inside of his jacket where you can barely see a pistol showing. Driver begins to move Irene into the corner. Next we see Driver lean in and kiss Irene. Stylistically, this kiss changes the entire flow of the film and scene. Time slows down and there’s a lighting change. The butteryness of the slow motion mixed with the soft glow of light makes us forget about the assassin and the high level of danger that are just inches away from the two lovers.
We are focused on their relationship, a relationship that never was, that only took place in that instant, in that moment of time, right before an extremely brutal display of anger and protection took over every inch of the elevator. The other lights of the elevator dim and the brightest light becomes the one creating a glowing circle around Drivers head giving him a halo. Much like the Halo around your guardian Angel, Driver has taken it upon himself to save Irene at all costs. The kiss for both Driver and Irene signifies the beginning and end of their relationship. It’s his goodbye kiss to Irene, he knows that they can never actually be together and that his next actions will cause her to fear him. It’s his final piece of nobility and gentleman quality he can offer her before going to the dark side and turning to the necessary evil he must become to protect her.
The enclosed space gives Irene a sort of claustrophobia and absolutely no room for escaping the violence within the crammed elevator. After the kiss, the scene switches tones drastically. Driver grabs the assassin and hurls him into the door of the elevator and then into the exact same spot that he and Irene just shared their moment. What follows is Driver viciously trudging on the head of the assassin until his skull is bashed in and only pulp remains. This is shown in two shots. The first shot we see the back of Driver’s jacket, the scorpion design woven into the jackets fabric across his back seems to come alive and represent the animal nature that Driver is taken in killing the assassin and the transformation that is starting to take place. The jackets fabric ripples and moves across his back as the fight takes place
It then switches to a low angle shot where we can see the intent in Drivers face and that he is in power of the scene. This is the point where he can never go back to who he was. Closing the scene, Irene afraid, backs out of the elevator in shock. Driver, his back turned is shown breathing intensely. The two sharing their final stare into each other’s eyes. Irene staring at who he now is, and Driver giving her a look of confirmation.
The scorpion on his back is moving as a result of his hard breathing. It gives off the notion that the scorpion is now him and his transformation is complete.
The beauty in the scene is that its both parts sex and danger and that for this instance, one can’t flourish without the other. Their contrast is what unites the two, marrying two scenes together to form the apex of the film. Our senses are heightened, our hearts felt when the two kiss and heightened again when Driver become an animal, a scorpion, stinging and attacking his prey. In this brief moment, we feel; lust, romance, danger, and horror in a seamless blend of non-verbal’s and non-necessary melodic notes. Only our eyes telling the story of what was, never would be, and the necessity of survival.Edited by Cobra Kai - 6/18/14 at 12:57pm