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Driver indie film review


Written by: #GiniGrahamScott


Driver is a crime drama set in Las Vegas that tells the story of Henry Falcon and Art Mathews. Henry is an Uber driver that suffers with Multiple Personality Disorder and also happens to be a serial killer. Art is a former police officer whose wife was murdered; unable to separate his work and personal life, he was suspended indefinitely. We meet these characters as Henry continues his spree and Art has dedicated himself to the hunt for the killer.

It's an interesting premise that carries a lot of potential, from the thought-provoking examination of an unhinged man, broken by Vegas and with a loose grip on reality, to the more broadly appealing arc of a hardened ex-cop on a personal journey for justice. Unfortunately, neither of these characters are given the development or substantiation they deserve and the whole thing ends up falling flat. Take Falcon, for example, played by Stephen Medvidick. While his dialogue is functional, at times even straying into quality pulp writing, his Multiple Personality Disorder is barely explored. Instead, it is relegated to a number of instances in which he looks into the rear-view mirror and finds a more malicious version of himself talking back. It lacks any sort of punch and ends up feeling more like a plot device. However, Medvidick does do a good job with the material he is given, impressively characterising the two versions of himself we see and delivering a number of his more mean-spirited lines with appropriate venom.

Mathews, on the other hand, is almost laughably portrayed. While Rick Lundgren does a fine job with the role, it is the baffling directorial choice to repeatedly show him swigging straight from a bottle of whiskey that undermines the character. Almost straight after he's shown waking up and taking a swig in bed, we see him standing in the shower, bringing the bottle to his lips yet again. This level of stereotypical characterisation almost veers into parody and renders the character difficult to believe and root for.

Coming in at around seventy minutes, Gini Graham Scott, who writes the screenplay, does little to justify the film's length. Throughout the course of the piece, it becomes painfully apparent how the narrative will tie up. However, the film favours action over intricate character studies and, as such, the audience are left trundling towards the inevitable with little character development or revelations to speak of. It feels as though it would have functioned equally well, or even benefitted from, taking the form of a short film.

This is not to say that Driver is without its merits. Directors Alex Zinzopoulos and Jack Skyyler have done a great job with the lighting, casting bright neon colours over characters' faces in a wonderful contrast with the darkness behind them. In all, it is quite a visually appealing film that does a great job of hiding its modest budget. As well as this, the underlying music, a jazzy ambience, does a good job of creating a mysterious atmosphere without ever feeling intrusive. Aesthetically, the film effectively conjures a feeling of slick unease.

Driver, then, is something of a mixed bag. Falling into the category of style over substance, it is a film that looks and sounds good but ultimately ends up feeling shallow. Had more care been put into the two main characters and the script in general, or even if it were condensed neatly into a short film, there would certainly be a lot of promise here. As it is, a predictable ending and a lack of substance render this one serviceable yet unspectacular.



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