#3 Deconstructing the Elevator Scene from Drive

For the initiative post, I´m going to deconstruct the infamous elevator scene from the movie Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

What´s so special with the elevator scene is how raw and emotionally brutal it is. The setting goes from the beauty of a kiss to brutal violence in a heartbeat. And the sound is so effectual.

The elevator shots are mostly Close-ups and over the shoulder shots directed from a low angle. The Scene starts with an open medium shot of the Driver (Ryan Gosling), Irene (Carey Mulligan) and another man (let´s call him Suit) standing in an open elevator. The angle is eye levelled. There´s an eerie vibe from the beginning. The door closes. The use of wide shots Indicates there´s tension building up in the scene.

Low angle shots are used in the elevator to create a claustrophobic feel.The next two shots cut between MCUs of the Suit paying close attention to the Driver and the Driver´s growing suspicion towards the Suit. We know something´s up.

To show emotions, the use of close-ups works very well and when the Driver sees the gun the Suit is carrying under his jacket the camera tracks down to a close-up.

In the elevator, lighting is used to cast shadow over the characters’ faces. The lighting fades when the Driver places his arm around Irene which leaves the Driver and the Suit in the dark while Irene´s face is highlighted. The light unnaturally dims as the Driver turns around and kisses Irene passionately. It looks like they´re the only two people in the world. In a matter of seconds, the moment changes from something beautiful to brutal violence. The lighting restores as the moment shifts.

The camera is all over the place ones the Driver attacks the Suit. The Driver´s stomping the Suits’ face to mash in a close-up from a low angle. The sound plays a big role in this moment as it sets a violent tone. There´s a nasty feel to the loud crushing of skull and bones. The door opens and Irene backs out in a close-up and leaves the frame.

The scene ends with an open wide shot of a shocked Irene just standing there looking at the Driver in a whole new light.The elevator door shuts and it cuts to a close-up of the Driver´s back highlighting the scorpion on his jacket. He knows Irene is never going to look at him the same way again. No matter how hard he tries, this is who he truly is. The Driver is nothing but a scorpion, a murderer.





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