Thursday, January 31, 2013


The film Drive contains very little dialogue. However, the soundtrack compensates for this. The music seems to replace the absence of any missing dialogue, and becomes almost like another character. The music within Drive is extremely addictive with its 80's-infused electronic pop style. The film uses sound to its full potential through songs that have meaningful lyrics. These songs provide the movie with added scene development and character insights.

During the opening credits, I was instantly hit with an appeal to pathos when I heard the music start. The music had a familiar feel that reminded me of memories of playing the video game Grand Theft Auto with my brothers. Andrea Lunsford, in her book Everything’s an Argument explains that “sound can arouse emotion” (40). It is inevitable that these songs will also have an appeal to emotion to other fans of the Grand Theft Auto games.

One of the first real interactions between Driver, neighbor (Irene) and her young son (Benicio) is during the "Ride Home" scene (See clip below). Driver gives them a ride during which he takes them for a fun trip through the dried out Los Angeles river. As soon as they hit the concrete river, the song "A Real Hero" begins. This has an upbeat tempo that communicates feelings of happiness between the characters. Up until this point in the film, Driver’s character has been an emotionless, reserved, and detached person. In this scene, he starts to light up and we see him smile. He enjoys spending this time with Benicio and Irene, and like the lyrics say “…and you, have proved, to be a real human being, and a real hero”. The part about being a real human being relates to the fact that Driver has now started to develop emotion and feelings towards Irene and her son. The lyrics “real hero” are a foreshadowing of what Driver is to become in their lives.

The next scene which I would like to discuss is the one titled “Thanks for Staying” (See clip below). When Irene’s husband is released from jail, they throw him a welcome home party. The scene cuts between the party and Driver’s apartment, where he is working on a car part. The song playing is “Under Your Spell” by Desire. The director chooses to make the music seem like it was playing at the party and would be in the background whenever it cut to Driver. The lyrics to this song are extremely significant to the scene. The camera cuts to the party and focuses on Irene while the words “I don't eat, I don't sleep, I do nothing but think of you” play in the background.  Although she has her husband back you can see her disconnect towards him. The lyrics to the song solidify what her already visible body language is saying. The last part of the scene cuts to Driver, and now the music is in the foreground. At this moment, the music is a way of showing the connection between the two characters.

In the final scene, the song “A Real Hero” plays again and the character, Driver, has come full circle. In Understanding Movies, author Louis Giannetti states that, “The final scene from a movie is often the most important. Because of its privileged position, it can represent the filmmaker’s summing up of the significance of the previous scenes” (211). In the end, this song was the main message that the director wants to convey. The director uses an appeal of pathos through the viewer’s now established emotion towards the song and its relation to the character, Driver.  The song choice is also an appeal to ethos, because the scene ends with Driver doing the honest thing by leaving behind the “dirty” money he helped steal earlier in the film. The viewer watches Driver become the “hero” and do an honorable thing.

These are only a few of the many examples inside the film where music greatly enhances the scene. Drive is one of those movies that, upon completion, sends you scurrying to the internet in search of song titles from your favorite scenes. I give the aforementioned songs 3 tickets because they are successful additions to each scene, and they follow the tone within each scene perfectly.



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