Posted 03 January 2016 - 04:31 AM
Let's try to break this down. In the first still from 'Drive', first you have a close up shot in shallow focus with a medium to medium telephoto lens. Compositionally, you have a tight haircut with the actor pushed to the left third of the frame and eyes very close to the top of the frame. Edgy framing rather than classical.
The camera is close to the actor's eyeline, meaning that he is almost looking right at us but just off to camera right. The lens is also just below the eyeline so that he looks just above the lens. The right side of frame leading the eyeline of the actor is lit, the left side behind him is dark with bright bokeh in the far distance on the dark side to create depth. This is more classical, letting us look directly into the actor's face and creating depth through layers of contrast.
For lighting, you have a key light which is possibly a practical mercury vapor street lamp (monochromatic cyan), high and sidey off of camera right. The actor is in half light, with the top of the side window flagging his forehead. The emphasis is on the cheek and jawline while keeping the eyes in shadow, creating a graphic mysterious look. Again, edgy rather than classical. Finally, the color is a sickly 'off white', suggesting a mercury vapor street lamp source, as well as something moody, dangerous, and edgy about the situation, location, and possibly the character.
So instead of glossiness, I think you are responding to the mood creating by the intentional framing, lensing, lighting, and color grading. In other words, storytelling through cinematography.