It is funny how seemingly inconsequential choices can send us down wild paths, avenues of great opportunity, or unknowable peril. Or how the people we bump into may inadvertently change our life, despite a couple of interesting films on the subject, it still retains fascinating to this day. In 2019, a supposedly unassuming tale of running meters and cursed bloodlines, make for an evening of supernatural adventure, in Driven.
While working late at night on an Uber run, Emerson picks up an unusual client, complete with an unusual request. Under the cloak of darkness, the part-time Uber driver must escort this mysterious figure to seemingly random spots, all while the passenger’s demeanour is sending off all sorts of warning alarms. When it turns out there is more to this fare visits than meets the eye, Now the duo must reluctantly work together, to stop the forces of unknowable evil.
The delightful mix of supernatural mystery and down to earth comedy is a welcome inclusion, The mixture of myth and modernity has always been a fascinating combination, one that Driven manages to execute rather well. You could argue that there are inspirations from Collateral, especially in its premise, but the aforementioned flair does a wondrous job in making the result feel fresh and novel. The twist is fun enough to propel the latter half of the story, being consistent throughout its entire runtime.
Driven has a major helping hand in the form of its two leads, and it is this charm that helps the low-budget film set itself apart from its competition. Whether it is coming from quirky, yet relatable Emerson or the idiosyncratic but supposedly noble Roger. Casey Dillard (who both stars in and wrote this feature), a frequent contributor to short-form throughout her career, dons the role of Emerson: a wannabe comedian, who is reluctant to put herself out there and has undertaken this Uber job to make ends meet, providing a collection of clever lines in the process. Driven also stars Richard Speight Jr. who you might remember as Bill from the prematurely concluded Jericho. His mysterious persona is intriguing, especially at the start, where curiosity about the direction this film will take. The relationship between the two may sound conventional on the surface, but both Dillard and Speight Jr. manage to pull it off, in a tried and tested opposites attract style.
I came across this low budget film by accident and found it by happenstance. Much like Emerson accepting the fare that one night turned into a life-changing experience; giving this film a chance turned into a thoroughly enjoyable evening. A charming adventure that manages to achieve a lot despite its limitations, one that compels you to see it through to its end. If you’re looking for a night of fun, Driven once again proves that it is not the destination that matters, but the journey.
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