by Ian Morton
Though the DeLorean has been woven into the fabric of pop culture through the Back To The Future franchise, the story of how the car came to be is one that has always been shrouded in scandal.
Set at the time of the cars inception, Driven delves into the events centered on the cars namesake, John DeLorean and the drugs scandal that erupted in an effort to fund the cars production and eventual release.
While the car may be remembered fondly today, this is a film that certainly won’t penetrate the zeitgeist in quite the same way, a messy tone not only leaks over the driveway, but cracks the head gasket at the same time.
Told from the perspective of the FBI informant responsible for the eventual arrest of the car magnate, the film starts as a satirical comedy, echoing the same style as 2017’s, American Made and 2013’s American Hustle. Attempting to mimic the sentiment of the era, it’s a haphazard throwback that occasionally impresses with an expressive palette and witty one liners but all too often buckles under the weight of what it’s trying to copy.
From about the halfway point, however, the film shakes things up for the better by moving from a more comedic tone to a much darker one. While this shift in gear appears to come at the right time – giving the film space to breathe and time to delve a little deeper – the reality is that the story quickly becomes overwhelmed by its new gravity, throwing everything out of sync and ultimately making the whole picture feel like 2 very different movies
Nowhere can this be seen more than the dramatic midpoint evolution of lead Jason Sudeikis. While Sudeikis’s irritating and wide eyed optimism seems suited for the comedy slog of the opening, he quickly becomes wildly out of place as the story feverishly tries to get underneath the skin of those involved and find the hidden motive of the films central figures. That’s not to say that Sudeikis isn’t capable of carrying harder content but more a sweeping red flag, suggesting that this film was something different before it entered the editing room.
Thankfully, the sheer presence of Lee Pace is enough to keep the film hobbling to the finish line. Oozing arrogance and captivating charm, Pace embodies the character of DeLorean with such style, it makes you wish the film was more biography than drama and such panache that you fully believe that this man can deliver on the premise of a futuristic sports car – the only real consistent part of this oddly inconsistent piece.
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