Directed by Nick Hamm
Written by Colin Bateman
Starring Lee Pace, Erin Moriarty, Judy Greer, and Jason Sudeikis
Run time 1 hour, 48 minutes
MPAA Rating R
by Rosalie Kicks, Old Sport
“The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some *style?*” - Doc Brown
Did you know they make wigs for your eyebrows?
It was news to me, until I watched Nick Hamm’s Driven. I may not have learned much about John DeLorean (Lee Pace) after viewing this flick, but I sure as heck can rest easier knowing that I will never live on this earth without brows. All kidding aside, when I look back on this film, the thing I’m gonna remember are Lee Pace’s eyebrows.
OK. Picture it! Toronto International Film Festival, two thousand and eighteen. I made the epic cinematic journey to the well renowned fest of the north for the second year in a row with my rad film pal and MJ cohort, The Fixer, Jaime Davis. However, what made this trip even more memorable was that for the first time ever, we got to meet fellow Moviejawner/Classic Coroner (now Jaime’s special lady friend), Dr. Ashley Jane Carruthers. We had known Dr. Carruthers through the powers of the interwebz for a couple years but this was the first time we were actually meeting face to face and one could not ask for a more magical rendezvous than at the movies.
Alrighttttt, so there is actually a point to this story and it is this:We skipped out on seeing Driven at TIFF.
Like a bunch of McFly slackers, we decided to go for film themed drinks at a fancy schmancy hotel bar rather than spend an evening with Lee Pace. Initially this was a hard decision for me, as I had been pining to see this film. For one, I adore Lee Pace ever being introduced to him in the now defunct beautifully designed television series, Pushing Daisies. Secondly, I am a huge Back to the Future nerd and needed to know everything about the DeLorean. After finally watching the movie almost a year later, I stand by our choice of ditching this movie.
This is not a great film. With its soap opera esque storytelling and caricature portrayals, I’d be more forgiving if this was a made for TV movie. However, the style utilized to tell this story is only one of many problems. Let’s start with the script. The script is the foundation of any film, it is the blueprint. It provides an outline, and without a solid script the story is lost at sea. Driven suffers from a script that is confused. It is unsure of who’s story it is telling and what piece of that story to focus on.
Fortunately, prior to viewing Driven I had recently watched the documentary, Framing John DeLorean. It is worth noting this film also lacked efficient storytelling, although without watching the documentary I would not have been able to piece together the puzzle that is Driven. The writer, Colin Bateman, seems to be under the impression that many of us are already aware of DeLorean’s story. Very little time is spent providing any insight into who the man behind the most illustrious movie car is.
Before watching I knew how everything was going to playout: John DeLorean, a big shot car executive decides to pull a Mary Tyler Moore and make it on his own with a futuristic automobile design. His company ends up in money troubles, sells a lemon to Johnny Carson and he becomes desperate. So, through the contact of a shady/shyster acquaintance, he gets mixed up in a government “war on drugs” sting operation.
The movie sorta kinda tells you about some of this. There is a lot left out. I would have never in my wildest dreams, thought the main focus of the story would be the shyster, Jim Hoffman (Jason Sudekis). For me this is a major downfall of the film, as I don’t especially find this person to be all that intriguing. I also question the decision of having Jason Sudekis carry the film. I don’t feel he is a movie ruiner, but he doesn’t really make for extraordinary cinema. In this particular movie, his character of the weasley government informant should have been a mere footnote in this narrative, not a focal point.
In the end, I could not help but recall one of the final conversations in the Framing John DeLorean documentary, with John’s son Zachary Tavio. He mentions that his father’s story would make a great movie. I can’t agree more- I think if someone put their mind to it and came up with a killer script, this story would be one hell of a flick.
In theaters, on digital and demand August 16, 2019