Night Drive Takes Us For A Semi-Enjoyable Ride
Starring Roshan Mathew, Anna Ben , Indrajit Sukumaran
Directed by Vyasakh
Night Drive, now streaming on Netflix, aims to be a road thriller of sorts with plenty of bristling breaks during the ride-share journey. Roshan Mathew is an actor who likes to probe into authentic areas of darkness. His stab at neo-realism in Geetu Mohandas’s fabulous Moothon and the energetic innovative and entertaining Kappela yielded rich dividends.
This time he keeps it light for himself. He plays Georgy, an all-purpose Mr Fix-it Uber driver whose sunny presence makes everyone happy.
It certainly cheers up Riya(Anna Ben) . We can see the two are in love. And when on the eve of her birthday Georgy offers to take her for nuptial ride on the streets of Kochi, the spin becomes far more adventurous than the couple imagined.
Sadly the poor writing plays the villain. And many potentially explosive scenes such as the one where the cop on duty Benny(Indrajith Sukumaran) stops the couple’s vehicle and gets into a potentially volatile altercation , are squandered into deadends.The sequence had the potential to explode like the one in which the cop frisked Thandiwe Newton in Crash .
The director pulls away from the conflict before it can grow into something important.In sequence after sequence we feel writer Abhilash Pillai pulling back before the full impact is achieved, with depleting consequences.What we see is a half-hearted thriller that doesn’t want to venture out too far in the dark.In keeping it light Night Drive loses its edge and shine.
Safely formulistic , Night Drive has no room for or patience with any kind of subtlety or layering. It’s all done in the mood of a one-night stand, all bang bang thank you m’aam. Compounding the woozy aura of a job half-done are the romantic songs.
Any amateur fan of the thriller genre would tell you, songs don’t have a place here.The director pushes in everything that can draw the audiences into his vapid-fire world of skidding tyres and unnecessary brakes.
Roshan Mathew somehow manages to make the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the plot seem easy. He is breezy as he seems to be enjoying the absurdities that flow in a rapidfire motion , until we reach the brutally deadend climax, a monumentally stupid plot twist where Georgy gets to outsmart the wily politician who put him in a jam in the first place.Clever is one thing.Over-smart is quite another.
Night Drive turns out to be inexcusably jejune in spite of no dearth of talent. Roshan Mathew is passably likeable in his filmy-hero avatar. But Anna Ben so promising lately, gives nothing to her role that we haven’t seen other leading ladies give when faced with a crisis of confidence that has no bearing to the goings-on on screen.
There are sporadic episodes where our interest level goes up a bit. Otherwise Night Drive remains a disappointingly dull drive.