Driven: From Humming towards the CGI crashfest

Autosport Movies

Driven was released the 27th of April 2001. The movie goes about a title fight in the 2000 CART championship. Between beau Brandenburg who defends his title and Jimmy Bly the newcomer that fights for the title. As Bly is losing grip on the season on the track and besides his team bring in retired driver Joe Tantoe who left the championship due to a massive crash which almost costed Brandenburg his life. Tantoe has to mentor Bly so he will keep focus on the championship. A rivalry occurs between Brandenburg and Bly. Quiet a sports drama for an amazing movie, isn’t it?

Well that should be the plot. However, as the title of this review says “From humming towards the CGI crashfest” Driven is all about randomness. Sidesteps in the main story that doesn’t make sense at all. Still if this is the first time you see the movie, or you just want to see an Autosport related movie it is a fine enough movie.

While Driven is about a rivalry between two drivers in the 2000 CART championship the original script for the movie was about Formula One and not CART. That’s probably the main reason why this movie doesn’t make sense and seems crooked. In 1997 Sylvester Stallone announced his Formula One Film, he signed a deal with Bernie Ecclestone for this. If you look at Driven you see the references in the characters. Burt Reynolds plays the role of Carl Henry, team owner, who after an accident had to spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. This is similar to Frank Williams.

Sylvester Stallone plays the role of Joe Tantoe who returns to the championship for a couple of races. This refers to Mario Andretti who returned for three races in 1982 with Williams and Ferrari. While playing the mentor for the newcomer Bly, who is obviously Jacques Villeneuve who managed to win the title almost in his debut season. Beau Brandenburg, played by Til Schweiger, is obviously Michael Schumacher. I found it personally weird to see that it seems that Sophie Simone, played by Estella Warren, is based on Corina Schumacher. She was first with Heinz-Harald Frentzen before she was with Michael Schumacher. The three coin trick is actually a reference to the trick Juan Manuel Fangio performed.

The movie Driven is basically about three drivers in the 2000 CART championship. Although they race in Germany and the first time CART appeared at the Lausitzring was in 2001. Joe Tantoe was the former champ that retired from the sport only to return to the sport to help out one of the new guys. During the film Brandenburg tells his girlfriend Sophie that their relationship is over after having a couple of races failing to score decent results. Stating that racing is his own life. A shot later Sophie is with Bly as his girlfriend. though when Joe Tantoe speaks with Brandenburg Sophie returns to Brandenburg at a party when he asks her back.

It is also the part where Jimmy Bly jumps in his CART. Followed by Joe Tantoe who is in pursue to let him stop. In this scene they race through the streets of Chicago. It is a bit of a weird scene and feels unrealistic. Eventually they stop at a square, where normal people would be jailed and banned from racing they only are given a 25.000 dollar fine.

The next scene brings in the first weird CGI crash in the movie. Joe Tantoe is replaced by Memo who is Bly’s teammate. While there are team orders to let Bly win the race he takes advantage of the race and goes for his own success. This results eventually in a massive crash where he flies 300 meters through the sky before he ends up in a lake. Weirdest part of this scene is the burning fire on the water, while CART drove on ethanol which can’t be seen while burning. Both Bly and Brandenburg save the driver.

During the race last of the season Bly and Brandenburg are the two drivers that can still win the championship. This scene is just unrealistic on a level I haven’t seen before. During that race Joe Tantoe seems to have found his old talent back and starts humming, this seems one of his reckons he catches the vibe and is fully focused. With only a few laps to go he makes a weird jump and ruins his left front wheel. Helping Jimmy to catch up with Beau. However, then with two laps to go massive crashes are happening. Cars are flying through the sky, bouncing into each other. One of the cars end ups in the lake (which is at the Montreal track). Normally a race would be red flagged not this race. Around six cars crash with each other though not even a yellow flag is waved.

Eventually Jimmy wins the race with 0,0055 second from Beau. This is on itself a reference to the race at Portland in 1997. Winning the Championship this is also the end of the movie.

When you watch the movie for the first time, and you have no affiliation with Autosport you probably will enjoy the movie. For those who have affiliation with the sport obviously keep on having question every time watching the movie. A perfect time killer for a Wednesday evening when you have nothing to do.