Review: ‘The Drive’

Adapted from a stage play, attempted psychological thriller "The Drive" provides no compelling reason for its screen translation --- indeed, this dire effort couldn't have been much on the boards, either. Unless some Canuck broadcast outlet waxes charitable, prospects for a grating yellfest almost entirely set inside a car would appear to be nil. Three working-class suburban teens are driving around, looking for fun on a weekend winter night, but fat chance --- they irk one another so much the evening is doomed already. Blowhard Jim is secretly jealous because best friend Ted now devotes most of his attention to smart-mouthed girlfriend Lee-Ann. Amiable Ted tries to play peacemaker while the other two trade insults.

A beer stop, however, allows gun-wielding ex-con Jake to hijack the youths and their vehicle. More yelling ensues, with Jim imagining some sort of kinship with Jake (well, they are both aggressive and obnoxious), while Ted and Lee-Ann more logically anticipate the worst.

Adam Barken wrote his original stage script at the age of 19, which partly explains but doesn’t fully excuse matters. If it had the slightest sense of humor, pic could have passed as a sort of collegiate David Mamet spoof: This movie may set an all-time record for spoken “f–k”s, and maybe “faggot” too. Actors are OK under the one-dimensional character circumstances, but apart from some late violence, virtually nothing happens beyond brain-numbing, abrasive talk.

Editing tries to maintain interest, to little avail; exterior shots are few, and those within the car clearly studio-bound.

The Drive



An Industry Entertainment presentation. Produced by David Reckziegel, John Hamilton. Directed by Romy Goulem. Screenplay, Goulem, Adam Barken, based on the play by Barken.


Camera (color), Mitchell Ness; editor, Heidi Haines; music, John Hamilton; production design, John Meighen; sound, Gabor Vadnay. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, Jan. 12, 1997. (In Cinequest, San Jose Film Festival.) Running time: 76 MIN.


Daniel Brochu, Fab Filippo, Alain Goulem, Jayne Paterson.
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