TIFF 2018 Review: DRIVEN (USA 2018) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Driven Poster
Intense thriller where politics, big business and narcotics collide.

Director:

Nick Hamm

Writer:

Colin Bateman

Irish Nick Hamm directs DRIVEN based on the outlandish true story of the John DeLorean (Lee Pace) the designer of the car of the same name (the vehicle used in BACK TO THE FUTURE), the rise and downfall of him and his Californian neighbour Jim (Jason Sudeikis).  This is the second film about drug snitching after WHITE BOY RICK but in this one the federal drug agent, Ben Tisa (Corey Stoll) is more effective. 

 While Hamm tries to dramatize the events, a lot of the film depends on the technical details of the case, which might bore a few people, judging front a number that left the theatre during the showing.  The fact that Hamm is Irish is clear with the facts emphasized that Belfast made the Titanic and a lot of workers will be out of work if the DeLorean manufacturing money does not go through.  The story is already crazy enough without having to put in the ridiculous 10 second ending which obviously did not happen. 

 Good period 70’s atmosphere coupled with superb performances by Sudeikis and Pace.

Trailer: https://teaser-trailer.com/movie/driven/

Film Review: THE JOURNEY (UK 2016) ***

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THE JOURNEY.jpgA fictional account of the extraordinary story of two implacable enemies in Northern Ireland.

Director: Nick Hamm
Writer: Colin Bateman
Stars: Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
Who would think that former enemies Rev. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness nicknamed ‘The Chuckling Brothers’ would remain friends for life after their meeting that finally resulted in the long awaited peace in Northern Ireland. No more bombings! No more bullets! Director Hamm underlines the violence as the film starts.

Nick Hamm’s THE JOURNEY is a dramatization about how these two two political opposites came together to change the course of history – an event that resulted in the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin (the political party of the Irish Republican Army) signing a 2006 agreement, bringing peace to Northern Ireland after nearly 40 years of violence.

Hamm’s journey is basically a two-handler, performed by two actors, one known for his humour the Irish Colm Meaney (THE SNAPPER) and the other for his dead seriousness, Timothy Spall (the Mike Leigh films). Most of the scenes involve banter between both of them. The film imagines a trip in a minivan where the two sort out their differences, come to an agreement and finally bring peace to the different groups. It is a real event though that minivan trip was imagined, as written in the script by Colin Bateman. The real trip took pace in an airplane. But the facts remain true. The reason the film changed the venue is not given but the change offers a visual treat, with lush greenery and rocky shores seen through rain-splattered windows. The drive was to the airport in Glasgow, Scotland.

Spall and Meaney are a pleasure to watch. Other British actors in the film include the late John Hurt (THE ELEPHANT MAN) as M15 boss Harry Patterson and Toby Stephens as Prime Minister Toby Stephens. Freddie Highmore has a small but mischievous role as the chauffeur, a British agent in disguise.

Director Hamm takes his time to set up the stage for the action when the two are finally the car and talking. The chauffeur, through his head set, is prompted to instigate the conversation. It is comical to see two grown men behaving just like children, fighting and wanting their own way. The conversation starts when McGuinness’s mobile is unable to get a signal but Paisley refuses to lend his. Bateman’s script, which imagines the actual conversation involves lots of funnily one-liners and rebuttals. The script is also believable in the way the ice is broken and the two eventually get talking. At the same time, hatred, humour and hard-nosed stubbornness are on full display.

They is a little film that documents a real life-changing event through imagined conversation. It is an entertaining exercise that also reflects strength overcoming the weaknesses of the human character in the strife for the good of mankind. But at the time of writing this review, problems are beginning to resurface again as observed in the recent news.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc3jqf4cdfc

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