MBTI: The Driver- ISTP
If you haven’t seen Drive yet and you consider yourself a king or queen of film, you need to dethrone yourself. Enter whatever pun you want there, I set you up.
While many movies could be type as an “ESTP movie” or “definitely a Guardian movie,” Drive is pretty much the ultimate ISTP film. Steady, moody, violent and subtle with occasional bursts of action (but notice there are no explosions), this says it all about the ISTP. It’s always interesting whenever the main character in a fim doesn’t actually have a name. Chances are you were really involved with what was going on and didn’t notice until after the movie. Daniel Craig as XXXX in Layer Cake, Edward Norton in Fight Club, Ryan Gosling in Drive. Anonymous, just the way the ISTP likes it.
From the beginning we see the Driver as quiet, private, and good with his hands. He’s either working on car components, at work in the garage, or performing car stunts for his job as a (ta-daa) stuntman. He hardly speaks and when he does, it’s in quiet phrases and never goes on for longer than a sentence. He uses his hands in his daily routine about 10x as much as he does his mouth.
A stereotype of ISTPs is that they love “X-treme” sports and things similar. The Driver may be all stereotypes of the ISTP in one. Love of adrenaline, and he actually is a “Mechanic” as the ISTP is often referred to as.
The Driver’s first function is Ti which is represented in all of what was just mentioned above. He lives alone, hardly speaks, and has three jobs, all which involve cars; the fixing of, the destroying of, and the driving of.
Introverted Thinking is generally non-confrontational and is inductive, continually adding to the user’s repertoire of knowledge. It’s why you’ll hear the Ti user pause in mid-sentence while the Te user sounds like they’re repeating information verbatim from a book.
The Driver living alone isn’t an example of Ti so much as it is the Driver’s lifestyle of working three jobs that involve skill with his hands, and analyzing pieces of information as they come his way; be it the logical steps in working on an engine, hitting all his marks during his stunt jobs, and knowing exactly how to evade the police in a robbery or whatever job he’s performing- he’s still just driving, plain and simple.
So while Ti’s job is analyzing, Se’s job is reacting. It’s not enough to be able to figure out what you need to do, but to act just as quickly in any given situation. And man, does he react.
It’d be a bit of a cheat to analyze Driver’s subtle looks in this scene to say “See, here’s the Ti sizing up the situation and there’s Se applying the emergency break to spin- blahlahblah…”
But what we do have is the actual scene itself, still a great example of ISTP in every way.
There’s no dramatic music, there’s hardly any speaking (really just noises on Christina Hendricks’ part), there’s only the action; quick shots of what The Driver’s hands are doing, his eyes darting everywhere, and the intensity of the chase; tires squealing, pedal-pushing… Down to business, like the ISTP.
The Driver’s Fe last is present by the fact that he’s a complete loner. He works, goes home…and works. His only real contact is Shannon, who seems to get along with him but it’s still definitely a working relationship.
He begins to develop a soft spot for his neighbor and her son but even that’s put on a halt when her husband comes back from prison and he feels forced into working for the mob to free the husband of debt. Not for him of course, but for the wife and son.
Just like the ISTP to hardly display any emotion for a fellow human being- yet when they finally do, something bad happens. Just look at 007. Dead women all around him.
ISTPs are known for not only holding back on the emotions (other than anger- a true man right here), save for their inner circle. Strangely protective of those closest to them, ISTPs couldn’t really care less about people outside of that; something that should change with maturity and adulthood, but old habits die hard.
The Driver is also representative of ISTP in his simplicity. He doesn’t want the money that was stolen, he doesn’t want a place in the mob- he wants to make sure he’s safe and so are his friend and child.
While ISTPs are known to enjoy the finer things in life, they also prefer to keep it to a minimum for the most part, only taking what they need. Coffee is a particular favorite item for an ISTP friend but past that, his interests and pursuits are a bit more substantial with very few material possessions to himself.
The Driver too, is shown to live in an apartment that’s hardly lit, usually focusing on some obscure part of a car. Other than that, he’s out doing what he needs to do.
Compare Drive’s ISTP to The Fast and Furious‘ ISTP, Dominic Toretto; The Driver is quiet, but not shy. You get that idea that even though he is simple, there’s more going on in his head than you’ll ever know.
Dominic Toretto from F&F, as I’ve mentioned before, is more of the easy stereotype of an action hero– quiet, always amazing. He works on his engines too- right after getting out of bed from having sex with some woman in a tropical country.
The Driver doesn’t necessarily have higher values or morals that make him impossible to “buy”, he just knows that getting involved with the mob means never getting out.
Toretto is a character we’re meant to believe is a “thief with honor” for choosing to save a main villain…after getting in a car chase where countless minions and (in reality) a hundred bystanders would have been massacred by the damage and action Toretto was causing.
There’s good ways and bad ways to write an ISTP, people. Let’s know the difference.