Big Driver (Lifetime)
There have been various adaptations of Stephen King's books and stories over the years. Some have met with great success while others, well let's just say they were less than Kingly. Lifetime's new original movie Big Driver is based on a Stephen King story and it has the quirkiness of King's writing but none of the drama and inventiveness which is usually found in his works.
This movie focuses on Tessa Thorne (Maria Bello), a mystery writer who is slowly making a name for herself. Tessa lives alone with a cat for company and has no one to answer to in any way. When she is invited to speak to a book club a drivable distance from her home she accepts. The head of the club (Ann Dowd) is very gracious and even offers her directions for a shortcut home.
On this shortcut she has car trouble in a very desolate area. Luckily she is able to flag down a man (Will Harris) who offers to change her tire. But immediately his mood changes and so does her luck. This man assaults her and leaves her for dead in a huge drainpipe. She makes her way home and doesn't report anything to the police. She decides to take matters into her own hands.
This sounds suspenseful but it comes across as more stupid than crafty and more deranged than dedicated. You get hints that Tessa has had some emotional problems in the past which are now brought to the fore. She doesn't act like a rational human being as she constantly has conversations with her GPS system, as well as one of the fictional characters (Olympia Dukakis) from her series of books.
The acting is adequate with Bello and Harris being better than average, but Dukakis and Joan Jett (who plays a bartender with problems of her own) are bad. Dowd doesn't have enough screen time to really make an impression.
The script is erratic and there are coincidences on top of coincidences. King was not at the top of his game when he penned this plot. So it is a downhill slog from beginning to end.
The film is advertised as "Big Driver: From a Story by Stephen King," and I am not questioning that it is. However, to be totally truthful they should have put in a "Bad" before "Story".
Big Driver airs Saturday, October 18 at 8PM on Lifetime.
Jackie K Cooper