When the driver and Bernie meet at the track after a test run of the driver's skill, Bernie says 'nice to meet you' and extends his hand for a handshake. Yet the driver refuses at first citing a (bs) reason of his hands being 'dirty'. Even when he accepts we see that it's barebones non-enthusiastic handshake played masterfully by Ryan Gosling.

  • Why did the driver not shake the guy's hand?
  • Did he recognize him from his ties to the criminal underworld? We know he doesn't like people from that part of his life (from the diner scene later), it would probably make sense.

1 Answer 1


As the plot unfolds we see more of what Driver is like.

In the beginning we have only one 'rule' which we see him exercise at the basketball stadium. 'You have me for 5 minutes, after which you're on your own' which is the rule by which he abandons the first robbers.

After that, really all we see is [possibly] meant to let us think he may be slightly asperger's/autistic. He is obviously talented, but outside his area of expertise he appears almost shy. His social interactions are withdrawn & monosyllabic in many instances. His reluctance towards the handshake could be seen in this light.

We don't discover until a lot later than he's actually more sociopathic, even psychopathic in his later behaviour.

I think it's a plot device to not let us see the extent of his behavioural traits in the early part of the movie, and initially to make us more sympathetic towards his character.

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