Making the Grades
Driven's racing sequences give car fans an incredible view of the open road at 250 mph, while the rest of the movie runs with three flat tires: Too much profanity for many families; uninteresting characters leaving the audience unsure who to root for; and a script better suited to a soap opera.
Penned by Sylvester Stallone, the story occupying the time between racing flags is trite dribble, focusing on the competition between veteran driver Beau Brandenburg (Til Schweiger) and young upstart Jimmy Blye (Kip Pardue). While the two of them rub bumpers over the world championship, the screenwriter ups the ante when Beau dumps girlfriend Sophia (Estella Warren) only to have Jimmy pick her up before her engine's cooled. Regretting his decision, Beau determines to win her back.
The new romance doesn't make Carl Henry (Burt Reynolds) happy either. As the owner of Jimmy's car, Carl worries his young driver (who appears barely capable of driving a milk truck let alone a CART racer) is already on the verge of a nervous breakdown trying to deal with mobs of bum-pinching female fans. Fearing Jimmy's love interest will be too distracting, Carl calls up his old racing buddy Joe Tanto (Sylvester Stallone) to help put the brakes on the new relationship and get his golden boy back on track. But Tanto has women problems of his own, with his ex-wife married to another racer.
Battling it out on and off the track, none of these guys ever take the lead in the audience's hearts, leaving us ambivalent about who goes home with the girl (who is also about as interesting as a tire iron). Even more disappointing is when Stallone, best known for his come-from-behind Rocky franchise, delivers a wishy-washy ending.
Aside from the profanities, parents may raise eyebrows at the many shots of adoring women in skin-tight fashions and an extended very high-speed chase through public streets with no criminal consequences. Yet, in a positive moment, Beau and Jimmy both put winning aside for a higher cause. A mixture of values and burning desires, Driven stalls on the storyline.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Driven.
What results could you expect if a high-speed car chase, like the one depicted here, were to really occur? Why do you think movies never explore or portray these consequences?