What Drive does well is embodying mood without words. Mood isn’t a monologue, or an essay, after all. Mood is the way a room looks to us when there’s no one else there. The way the streetlamp looks on a lonely night. A face in certain lights can look hard, uncompromising, and unfamiliar. And in another, tender and in awe.
How can the same person both be monster and hero? Only the shifting light can help us make sense of this absurdity. Day turning into night, and then back into day. For the driver, love is the catalyst for both his kindness and his brutality. The thing about films like this, where people can easily cry that it’s more style than substance—what still attracts us is that there’s a great romance in such intensity. A man who murders for a woman before they’ve even kissed. A movie that acknowledges how true, deep loneliness speaks its own language, recognizes its own wavelength in others. There are just shared glances. Her hand over his.
But for him that is enough to idolize this girl into this object of perfection, obsession. He will never have her. She’s already beyond him, this person that she is to him. But he will keep striving toward his love, this stranger light at the end of the tunnel. Drive toward it.