Mag Film Fest 2019: DRIVEN is an Indie Genre Gem

The Magnolia Independent Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night and the feature film is Glenn Payne’s Driven. Payne is an award winning filmmaker that hails from Magnolia’s home state of Mississippi. His latest film is certainly an interesting one…

Emerson Graham’s nights as a cab driver are filled with annoyances and inconveniences, but until tonight, never attacks and disappearances. After picking up a mysterious passenger her evening goes from working a job to performing a quest as they must race against the clock to defeat a force of evil. The meter is running.

Emerson (Casey Dillard) is a stand up comic who drives for Uber in a borrowed car. One crazy night, she picks up a strange man named Roger (Richard Speight, Independence Day/Band of Brothers). Soon, Emerson finds out more about the crazy man’s mission and can’t help but do her best to help. From there, the insanity begins…

A truly unique gem of a film, it clocks in as a brisk and perfectly timed 89 minutes. While I wouldn’t mind spending more time with some of the characters here, it feels like the story is told well in its runtime. If any longer, the film could suffer from having large lulls or the dreaded middle third drag. Instead, it flows well from start to finish.

While clearly made on a modest budget, the film looks pretty damn good. The lighting works, the shots are framed well, and the films simply looks and feels crisp. Indie films with a great look to them always feel impressive, especially when they – like this one – actually look better than many more expensive studio films.

While Speight may be the only super recognizable face, the cast is fantastic, with he and Dillard really shining at the forefront. When you combine their performances with a strong script, great pacing, and that fantastic look of the scenes, you get a truly unique and worthwhile experience. Genre film fans will truly enjoy this one. Besides, in what other film will you ever get the chance to encounter a recurring joke about a “turd spoon”?

Check out opening night of the festival on Thursday to see just why this is one of my favorite film discoveries thus far in 2019. The lineup is below. Click here for ticket information.

Justin has been running websites since his first Geocities site in 1994, but only did he ever start covering anything of substance years later. After he stopped regularly running local concerts in Northern NJ and the greater Philly area, he knew he needed to step up his writing game if he expected to continue to get free music to listen to. He writes regularly here and at Cinapse, as well as contributing to a few other sites on occasion. He likes music, film, the Philadelphia Eagles, the 76ers, talking about Criminal Justice, reading Intelligence Report, and his family... not in that order. His beautiful wife is far more talented than he is and his kids far more adorable... and crazy.
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