DRIVE by COLOURIST TOM POOLE

With ‘Only God Forgives’, Nicolas Winding Refn’s new feature, opening nationwide in the UK today, we turn our attention to the colours of on of our most favourite films ‘Drive’.

Responsible for its iconic look is Company 3’s colourist Tom Poole, who worked alongside DoP Newton Thomas Sigel (‘The Usual Suspects’)

Poole started his career at The Mill in London, where he worked as an assistant to some of the world’s top colourists. He moved to the US in the early 2000’s to help establish the telecine department at The Mill’s New York office. There, Poole worked mainly on commercial and music videos. In 2007, Poole joined Company 3 and has since worked on several features including ‘Drive’ (Nicolas Winding Refn), ‘The Grey’ (Joe Carnahan), ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ (Derek Cianfrance), ‘Out Of The Furnace’ (Scott Cooper) and ‘Twelve Years A Slave’ (Steve McQueen).

The palette of ‘Drive’ is best described as bold. It could be to do with the fact that the director is partially colour blind, which makes him not able to see mid-colours. But it is exactly this high contrast approach that we love. Colours are there to introduce tension and support emotional story telling. There is a lot of red, not just the blood. Complimentary colours such as teal, orange and almost film school like pinks are used to intensify the visual impact. When the red starts gushing in, it pumps some real excitement. In some aspects, ‘Drive’ perversely hints at an art-house action or erotic movie.

This incredible mix of colours, which is the secret of colours of ‘Drive’, is what subtly moves us into 80’s and the depth created is so rich that despite being shot digitally it is the least digital looking movie of all.

Ever since its release ‘Drive’ has set a benchmark for the look of electronic 80’s pastiche.