CAPSULE: Bill Huffman, a minor paid informant for the FBI, is used to skating the thin ice near the edge of the law. He might have stayed inconsequential until he meets his new neighbor, John DeLorean, temporarily the most successful automobile executive and designer ever. After an enviable career as a leading-edge designer for the major auto companies he is now taking what he learned and is using it and designing what is to be the most superior car on the road. Or is he? DeLorean has announced that he has designed and is building the car that will bear his name. However, DeLorean has a cash-flow problem and he decides to have Bill do a drug run to pick up cocaine for the auto executive. DRIVEN is a fast-paced joyride of a film based on the DeLorean legal case that took the attention of the country. Directed by: Nick Hamm; written by: Colin Bateman. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
DRIVEN opens to a montage of short flashbacks signaling the viewer that this will be a complex story. It is told at the frenetic pace and the energy of Tom Cruise's AMERICAN MADE or the Coen Brothers' BURN AFTER READING or maybe the chaotic rapid fire of LORD OF WAR.
We know from the start that something has gone wrong since the story unfolds in flashbacks during a high-profile trial. We see the story through the eyes of Bill, a car enthusiast and private pilot (played by Jason Sudeikis) who finds his new next-door neighbor is the famous John DeLorean (played by Lee Pace). He is totally excited to meet the Big Man, but has a bit of a distraction at the moment. The FBI is blackmailing Bill to get to a small-time drug smuggler. But DeLorean would be a much higher profile arrest so they use Bill to try to entrap DeLorean.
DRIVEN is something of a romp, but it also is something of a lament. Mostly the writer reminds us multiple times of that there are many virtues of DeLorean's planned car. Even so your Federal Bureau of Investigation protected you from his plan of unleashing his car on the American road. As such the film follows many of the same issues as Francis Ford Copula's TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM (1988).
The best performance of the film is provided by Lee Pace who is charismatic in bright silver hairstyle and his opaque sunglasses. He is razor-sharp but still maybe not sharp as he would need to be to win at this game. This film is based only on the folklore of John DeLorean, but it still is a wild ride. I am driven to rate DRIVEN a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.
DRIVEN is in theaters and on digital/demand August 16, 2019.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5592796/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/driven
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2019 Mark R. Leeper