spacetime coordinates: 2011 Los Angeles
Drive is a 2011 American neo-noir crime film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and written by Hossein Amini, based on the 2005 novel by James Sallis. It stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks.
Journalists and reviewers have called Drive a “classic Los Angeles heist-gone-wrong story”, a “tribute to the genre of car films” in the vein of movies like Bullitt (1968). As a character study, Drive examines themes of “loyalty, loneliness and the dark impulses that rise up even when we try our hardest to suppress them.” It combines comic gore, film noir and B-movie style and Hollywood spectacle, resulting in “a bizarre concoction…reminiscent of David Lynch‘s Mulholland Drive…Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction, and [with] angst-laden love scenes that would not be out of place in a Scandinavian drama”. – read more about Style and inspiration –
the film contains abundant, evocative, intense images of Los Angeles. from the little seen back streets of downtown LA to the dry arid outposts on the peaks of the desert landscape surrounding it, LA is re-imagined all the way down to the rocky cliffs by the sea.
While Drive is set in the present day, it carries a heavy 1980s atmosphere that is cautiously set from beginning to end and is underlined not only by the vehicles or music and clothes, but also by its architecture. The parts of the city seen in the Valley and by downtown Los Angeles are cheap stucco and mirrored glass. Refn avoided certain areas to preserve the gloomy atmosphere often leaving out more contemporary buildings. Drab background settings include the Southern California commercial strip. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, whenever gleaming buildings are shown, it is because they are being seen from a distance. Refn shot those scenes from a helicopter at night in Bunker Hill, Los Angeles.