- English subtitles
At the race track of a small Finnish village, Antti is the driver of the starter car. Its job is to keep the horses at an equal distance, the command of which has earned him the respect of his older colleagues. When he teaches his new colleague Mari the ropes, sparks fly. The two start an affair, even though Antti is in a relationship with Mari’s very own cousin, Riikka. Antti’s indecisiveness keeps him from choosing between the two women.
Then Riikka is offered a job in the city. She and Antti have to move out there and the moment arrives where he has to make a choice. Mari tries in vain to convince him to tell Riikka about their affair. He makes a valiant attempt to dump Mari – who refuses to be set aside. What it is exactly that Mari sees in the silent andy mostly grumpy Antti remains a mystery to us throughout this short story, but nonetheless their affair continues. Until, when Mari and Anttii both don’t show up to drive the starter car, fate strikes.
These plot twists wouldn’t look out of place in your average soap opera, but appearances are deceiving. The Driver is a languid, summery film about a man who lets life happen to him, with Antti as the surly, extremely passive protagonist. Every decision in this movie is made by the women in his life. The other men in the film seem to also have somewhat lost the plot.
Fortunately, although the film is full of dramatic events, there is room for comedy. Directors Jani-Petteri Passi and Jarkko T. Laine manage to keep the tone light and ironic, which the indecisiveness of the main character, the summery lethargy and the faded glory of the dusty race track where the film takes place, all contribute to. Most of the actors are newcomers to the film world and have only played in TV series before, which doesn’t show. At times, The Driver is reminiscent of the work of Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki. The characters in his films also have to endure the most horrific things, while staying reasonably cool or even indifferent. With its 62 minutes, The Driver is exactly long enough; an excellent and compact, sunny black comedy.
Marloes den Hoed
Translation: Marjan Westbroek