Is Drive a film, i.e. what is (such) a film today? What is the interest, the singularity of its emptiness? It seems to be more crystalline, more polished, more subtracted, more self-reflexive, more paradigmatic, consciously and conscientiously committed to “the consciousness industry.” Winding Refn is very straightforward: “I am a fetish filmmaker.”
Drive is pop, absolute advertising as information, “a complete combinatorial, which is that of the superficial transparency of everything,” a video, where differentiating between art-experimental and commercial appears as mere moralizing; it is a fashion/designer video, which continues to be, and is ever more so, the cultural dominant. To put it in up-to-date terms, Drive is a flickr/tumblr/hypem/vimeo aggregate or an aggregator, (1) to the point where it is completely pertinent to ask whether the film is even meant for reception in cinema theatres or rather via VLC player. In less up-to-date terms, Drive is a car-toon, car-tune, an asphalt jingle simulating compliance with the laws of gravity, which is, after a prologue introduced by the opening credits in the manner of a TV series to the beat of Kavinsky’s track “Nightcall” (from the petit fetish empire Ed Banger Records), a blend of Carpenter, Moroder and Knight Driver.
It is, Baudrillard style, a “cool, cold pleasure, not even aesthetic in the strict sense: functional pleasure, equational pleasure, pleasure of machination.” Cool-de-sac. A blinding street. That “degraded” version of meta-genre film, retro film, nostalgia film. But here, however, one does not long for a concrete historical period or a specific aesthetic style, (2) but for postmodernism itself.