'Drive' Ending Explained

Do you have questions about the ending of 'Drive'? We get an explanation from the film's director, Nicolas Winding Refn.

explanation of the ending of drive


If you're reading this, then you've already had the chance to watch Nicolas Winding Refn's pulpy crime-drama Drive, and hopefully enjoyed it as much as we did (be sure to read our Drive review).

Though Drive seems like a standard action/thriller (albeit with some art house style and flare), a lot of movie goers have walked away with questions about the movie's final moments, which leave a fair amount of ambiguity hanging over the fate of "Driver," the character played by Ryan Gosling.

In the past with our Shutter Island and Inception Ending Explanations, we here at Screen Rant have had to rely on our prowess as movie aficionados in order to form some logical deductions about what transpired in some of our favorite mind-bending movies, and what filmmakers intended with their ambiguous endings. In the case of Drive, however, we were fortunate enough to snag an explanation right from the primary source: director Nicolas Winding Refn.

When we last see Driver - bleeding out while behind the wheel of his car, before pulling himself together and speeding off into the night - there is a certain amount of lingering doubt about the literalness vs. figurativeness of what we are seeing. When I asked Refn first-hand what the ending of Drive was all about, I expected the typically coy filmmaker to hand me an equally coy answer. However, he was surprisingly straight forward in his response:

Well all my films always have open endings. All of them. Because I believe art is always best talk about it and think about it, so forth. Maybe once in awhile I've gone too far, but I always believe in finding the right balance. And in 'Drive' he lives on for more and new adventures.

So there you have it - if you were wondering whether or not the ending of the film was to be taken literally, or was some metaphoric death scene, you at least now know how the director sees it.

ryan gosling in drive

Refn has continuously referred to the film as a modern Grimm fairytale (unlikely hero rises to battle evil king, saves princess) and I for one always saw the ending as the hero saving the girl, while also being denied the "happily ever after" cliche he may want. Indeed, the implications of the film are such that Driver will likely speed off into new adventures, as Refn claims, albeit still stuck in the lonely and isolated existence in which we found him. The only difference is: he now knows what kind of hero he can be.

Do you have any thoughts to share about the ending of the film? Let us know in the comments.

Drive is now playing in theaters.

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