REVIEW: The Driver (2014) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: The Driver (2014)


Runtime: 174 Mins
Rated: 18
What To Expect: A very watchable drama/thriller starring David Morrissey and Colm Meaney

I’d wondered what David Morrissey, who played The Governor in The Walking Dead, would follow that series up with.  Turns out that he returned to his native United Kingdom to shoot this drama/thriller, which to be honest is about as good as any recent British movie I’ve seen.  Maybe the trend of TV getting its own back, quality-wise, is catching on there too just like in the United States.  This is a three part mini series, which are often better than prolonged series that have to compromise structure through fear of renewing seasons.  A good example of a victim of that is Lost, which wrote itself to death.  A good example of something that will prosper is True Detective, which although is not a mini series, is an anthology format.  Point is, you can get something better out of a writer when he has a fixed beginning, middle and end.

Morrissey plays Vince McKee, a cab driver struggling with family and financial difficulties.  He’s a good driver as well as navigator, so when his ex-con friend is released from prison, he introduces him to an opportunity to earn money on the side.  The job involves driving packages for a gang boss, The Horse, played by Colm Meaney.  Things go good at first but it’s hook, line and sinker as McKee soon realises that once you offer yourself to mobsters, they’ll never let you leave the job.  And so McKee gets drawn into a deadly mess that involves delivering suspect packages, Transporter-style and car chases in his mob supplied high performance BMW.

The Driver flows surprisingly well for a three hour feature.  And I think what makes that so is the characterization of its villains.  ‘The Horse’ and his henchmen and dirty and dangerous people, something crucial in making the show work.  Meaney is in his element playing a baddie and the versatile Morrissey is superb as the family man getting caught up in a web of murder, sawn-off shotguns and veiled death threats.  Sometimes there is a little too much melodrama.  A drawn out sub plot concerning McKee’s estranged son, de-facto kidnapped by a cult of freaks, seems a little out of place.  I would’ve cut the rope on that, and made it leaner as a thriller.

Still, a fairly watchable downbeat thriller that’ll probably fly under the radar for many.  Check it out, if only for the tense last half hour.