Drive, the film by Nicolas Winding Refn starring Ryan Gosling as a getaway driver so smooth you start to think he has some form of learning disability, is a perfect cinematic representation of "cool." (Read our review of Drive) It oozes that shit, both in its underbelly of tone and theme, but also in the surface details -- the neon pink font and electropop of the opening credits, the stylized theatricality of its formalism, and the costuming. Pretty much if you didn't walk out the theater wanting Ryan Gosling's jacket, you can turn in your "cool license." It happens.
Here are six characters defined by their badass jackets that you know you want.
6. The Driver Drive The Jacket: White quilted satin, members only cut, with a golden scorpion embroidered on the back. If Ryan Gosling's character is a superhero, his jacket is the "S" on his chest, 'cause he only puts it on when shit is going down. At night, the jacket shines, giving The Driver a crazy conspicuous glow in the Los Angeles streetlamps, creating a testament to his internal duality, which sees this constant coolness periodically interrupted by bouts of extremely angry violence. He doesn't want to be noticed, but he does a lot of noticeable shit. As The Driver falls further into the complications that make up the film's plot, losing his cool more and more, the jacket becomes slowly covered in blood. But no matter how bloody it gets, he won't take that thing off.
5. Brendan Brick The Jacket: A non-descript brown thing. Brendan's jacket in Brick manages to work for his character on a variety of levels. It's realistic, 'cause every high school had one outcast who never took his jacket/hoodie off. It's the suburban high school version of the brown trenchcoat, connecting Joseph Gordon Levitt to the Bogart characters that inspired the cinematic tradition of his hard-boiled detective. Most importantly, it's his armor: Chandler always considered the noir detective to be a white knight, the only beacon of justice in a corrupt world. Brendan burrows into his jacket like a turtle when he's in trouble, uses it as a shield to keep himself distanced from, if not above, the criminal culture he's exploiting to get the bottom of his ex-girlfriend's murder. It's only when the jacket comes off that we think he might be in the kinda trouble he didn't plan on handling.
4. El Mariachi Desperado/Once Upon a Time in Mexico The Jacket: Dark brown suede mariachi jacket with big ass scorpion embroidered on the back. Somewhere between El Mariachi and Desperado, the unnamed deadly hombre that kills drug dealers with a guitar case full of guns got hisself a customized jacket with a scary ass scorpion. He must've seen Drive. El Mariachi's jacket is more practical than symbolic, though. Without it, no one would think he was a mariachi. He'd just be a dude with conchos on his pants. More importantly, his jacket provides him with long, loose sleeves that he uses to hide his spring loaded pistol holsters, which he in turn uses to kill more people than cancer. The Top 3 are on page 2.
3. Blade The Blade Trilogy The Jacket: Long black leather trench. Eventually the inside of it is red, to match all the blood that dude be spillin'. Blade carries a lot of shit: A gauntlet that works like a boomerang and cuts off heads. A thin wire comes out of his armored vest and cuts off heads. A sword used to cut off heads. Plus an entire arsenal of knives, stakes, and guns that shoot knives and stakes. But this lives in an urban area, and he sticks out, so how's he gonna carry all those tools around without getting hassled by the police? By hiding it under his bomb-ass coat. Spoiler: Blade is shot by police twice in the series, including in the very beginning of the first movie, wherein he retorts "Mothafucka, are you out your mind?" The second time they are working for vampires, so he is too angry to call them Motherfuckers.
2. Neo The Matrix Trilogy The Jacket: First a standard black trench, then a priest-looking long black coat he never takes off The trenchcoat in the first movie is purely practical; like with Blade, it's there to hide the many varieties of weaponry Neo is going to use to destroy a government building. It's not especially important to him, though, as he removes the jacket after after two bullet grazes create unseemly rips. However, once Neo accepts his role as the messiah, his jacket changes to define his new role. Suddenly, he never takes the damn thing off. A strange mix of hacker stereotype, fat goth, cleric, and kung fu "uniform," you can see this jacket a few times a night at every goth/industrial club ever.
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1. The Man with No Name The Dollars Trilogy The Jacket: Not so much a jacket as a poncho. Whatever, it counts. The simple brown serape that Clint Eastwood wears in this Sergeo Leone trilogy pulls double duty, being both symbolic and practical: the unnamed gunfighter keeps his intentions hidden from everyone, including the audience, until the very moment he acts. And usually he acts by pulling a gun from underneath that poncho, or using it to hide a homemade bullet proof vest. The Eastwood poncho is as much a part of the iconic image of Spaghetti Westerns as the brown hat, the black cigarillo in his lips and smirk he keeps by knowing he's always one step ahead.