Drive Ending Explained: A Comprehensive Guide

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Drive, a 2011 neo-noir crime thriller directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, has been a topic of discussion among movie enthusiasts for years. The film’s ambiguous ending has left many viewers confused, sparking debates and theories about its meaning. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Drive’s ending and attempt to decipher its symbolism.

The Plot

Drive follows the story of a Hollywood stunt driver (played by Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. He falls in love with his neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is in prison. When her husband is released, the driver agrees to help him with a heist that goes awry. The driver is forced to protect Irene and her son from the criminals who want them dead.

The Chase Scene

The climax of Drive is the iconic chase scene, where the driver evades the police and the hitmen chasing him. The scene is intense and expertly choreographed, but it also serves a deeper purpose. The driver’s car represents his inner self, and his ability to control it shows his mastery over his own life. The chase scene is a metaphor for the driver’s struggle to control his fate.

The Elevator Scene

After the chase scene, the driver takes Irene and her son to a motel. In the elevator, he kisses Irene passionately before brutally stomping the head of a hitman who has followed them. This scene has been criticized for its sudden violence, but it is crucial to understanding the driver’s character. He is a man of few words and intense emotions. His violent outburst shows his willingness to protect those he loves.

The Final Scene

The final scene of Drive is where the confusion lies. The driver is seen driving away from the motel, covered in blood. He stops and stares at Irene and her son, who are watching him from a distance. The driver smiles and drives away, and the credits roll.

The Driver’s Fate

Many viewers have interpreted the final scene as the driver’s death. They believe that he died from his injuries sustained during the chase scene. However, this theory has been debunked by the director, who stated that the driver is alive and well.

The Driver’s Redemption

Another theory is that the driver has achieved redemption. Throughout the film, he is a cold and detached character. He only shows emotion towards Irene and her son. The final scene shows him smiling, indicating that he has found happiness and purpose in his life.

The Driver’s Legacy

The most popular theory is that the driver has passed on his legacy to Irene’s son. The driver is a father figure to the boy, and throughout the film, he teaches him about cars and mechanics. The final scene shows the boy wearing a jacket that looks like the driver’s, suggesting that he has taken on his mentor’s legacy.


Drive’s ending is open to interpretation, and that is what makes it a masterpiece. The film’s symbolism and metaphors make it a complex and thought-provoking piece of cinema. The final scene leaves the audience with a feeling of ambiguity, but it also allows them to create their own meaning. Drive is a film that will continue to fascinate and captivate audiences for years to come.

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