The film Drive looks like the typical car chase movie on the surface. We have so many predecessors in this tradition including the film The French Connection from 1971. Much like that classic film, there were no tricked out 21st Century special effects in the driving scenes in Drive. It is straight old school cops and robbers car chases.
Dig deeper though and there are biblical metaphors. The principal character is simply Driver. I’m not sure if his name is even uttered in the film. He’s a mystery. He’s a type of Christ. Driver lives a lonely solitary life until he connects with Irene and her son Benecio–both neighbors. As Driver moves deeper into relationship with mother and son, he selflessly sacrifices more and more for them, much like Christ did on the cross for humanity. There are numerous examples in the film. Driver puts his love to the side for Irene when her husband Standard gets out of jail. Driver agrees to be the driver for Standard for a pawnshop heist. Standard owes bad people protection money from when he was in jail. When Standard is murdered, Driver does everything in his power, including murder, to protect Irene and Benecio.
What’s interesting is we assume Driver has died at the hands of a gangster with a stab wound to the stomach. Without medical attention, the victim will quickly bleed out.
Suddenly, Driver is at the wheel. He is pale. His eyes are closed. Then he blinks. Like Christ, Driver rises from the dead to the surprise of the viewer. The scene changes again and Driver is back on the road. He’s left Irene behind but she is safe since all of the bad guys who could have hurt her have been done away with by Driver.
The film, without looking at the metaphors, is compelling. The relationship Driver has with Irene and Benecio is complex, loving, and dark. Driver shifting between being a shutdown monster with being a boyfriend, a friend, and father-figure drives the film.
But when you add the biblical metaphors, the film becomes even richer.