Midnight Movies: An Adam Driver Special

Adam Driver has easily become one of the most prolific actors of our time, displaying his range as an actor in every role he takes. He’s one of those performers that instantly captivates audiences with his nuanced performances, turning one-dimensional characters into complex and compelling individuals. Here is a small selection of films that demonstrate just how versatile of an actor Adam Driver is.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And so we come to the end of the Skywalker saga. The final trilogy of this saga has not been as smooth sailing as they’d like, with The Last Jedi facing the scorn of fans and The Rise of Skywalker causing further divisions. However, if there is anything that we can take away from this sequel trilogy it’s the way it celebrates the legacy of this epic sci-fi saga.

The problem with the Rise of Skywalker lies in its determination to retcon the events of the Last Jedi. The Last Jedi was not a perfect film, but it still set up a couple of interesting plot threats for the Rise of Skywalker to explore. Instead, Rise of Skywalker all but ignored those threads and chose to introduce new concepts that had no precedence and narratively made no sense. The cast did their best with the material that they were given, and Driver’s Kylo Ren is easily the most compelling character of the saga. Yet, they took the easy way out. Adam Driver gave Kylo Ren a layer of complexity that highlighted his inner conflict, making the question of his redemption to be one of the more compelling aspects of the film. Yet, instead of working to atone for his crimes and forced to face the consequences of the damage he inflicted on this world, they took the easy way out in giving him a heroic sendoff believing that that deed alone would be enough to fulfil his redemption arc. It was a wasted opportunity.

The sad reality is that most of the characters in The Rise of Skywalker didn’t get the send-off they deserved. Neither Finn or Poe got the recognition they deserved as key players of this narrative, and it still felt like there was a lot to be explored with their characters by the end. Even Rey turned into a generic typecast of the heroes we love by giving her this legendary ancestry, effectively shattering the message that even a nobody has the ability to harness the power of the force. However, the greatest atrocity would have to be the 76 seconds of screen time Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose got in favour of the new faces that served the same role.

All in all, visually The Rise of Skywalker was a spectacle, but it failed to capitalise on the opportunity to use the criticism from the Last Jedi and turn it into a sci-fi spectacle that gave our most beloved characters the send-off they deserved.

The Report

This is a film that has flown under the radar, yet is an incredibly compelling film looking into the report conducted over a 10-year investigation into the torture methods implemented by the CIA post 9/11. Based on true events, Adam Drive plays Senate staff member Daniel Jones, tasked with the responsibility of investigating these actions. It’s an incredibly dark revelation and some scenes are deliberately uncomfortable to watch, driving home the sheer brutality of such actions. Once again, the subtlety of Driver’s performance drives home Jones’s crusade in uncovering these actions. The relentlessness, the frustration, and exhaustion culminating in a demand for justice in a world of political manoeuvrings. It’s a brilliant film, one that highlights the dark reality of modern American history.

BlacKkKlansman

A hot contender for last years Oscars, that missed out on the top accolade, a decision that divided and frustrated many, Blackkklansman spotlights an African-American detective, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) in Colorado Springs that works to expose a Ku Klux Klan chapter in their local area. It is satirical yet horrifying in the way that Spike Lee utilised the 1970’s setting as a way of highlighting the parallels in our current society. What’s even more terrifying is Driver’s portrayal of Philip “Flip” Zimmerman, a colleague of Stallworth who is tasked with being the physical iteration of Stallworth’s plan to infiltrate this local chapter. Driver’s nuanced performance demonstrates the layers to his character. Viewers are aware of Zimmerman’s intentions, but his personification still effortlessly fits right into this role within the KKK. It’s unnerving, but even more so is how we’ve still not learnt our lesson from the damage that has already done by history.

Marriage Story

Adam Driver deserves the Oscar for this one. Expectations were high from the beginning, and with those expectations, disappointment is easy to follow. However, the beauty of this film is in the mundane. There is no dramatic showdown, no villain, just two people trying to navigate their new normal now that their marriage has come to an end. Charlie (Driver) and Nicole (Scarlet Johansson) are determined to keep their divorce as amicable as possible. However, as soon as Nicole gets a lawyer involved, the tension, miscommunication, and Charlie’s realisation that he could lose custody of their son push both parties to their limits as emotions run high. The culmination of all this pent up frustration explodes in a breathtaking confrontation between Charlie and Nicole. Driver and Johansson deliver a performance that is raw and powerful. That moment summarises everything this movie stands for as it highlights human nature in all of its ugly and beautiful complexity that is so easily identifiable in our own lives.

What did you think of Rise of Skywalker?
Have you seen any of these films?
What’s your favourite Adam Driver performance?

 

 

4 thoughts on “Midnight Movies: An Adam Driver Special

  1. I definitely agree with your assessment of Marriage Story. I’ve always liked Adam Driver, but I think he especially hit it out of the park there. He showed so much emotional depth playing someone going through the hell that is divorce. Scarlett Johansson was also terrific and the two of them shared some great chemistry. He’s also a pretty good singer. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he has in store for future projects. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marriage Story was just an incredible story. The emotional range from both Driver and Johansson was so felt in every scene and despite the fact that this is a divorce story, I still felt like it celebrated the love between them during this transition. I was amazed by his singing as well and I think one of his upcoming films has him singing as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. Yeah I didn’t like TLJ (so much so I didn’t bother to watch rise of the skywalker) but it doesn’t make sense to retcon it. It’s good that Driver gave Kylo ren more complexity and that this was the most compelling elements of the movie. It seems really bad to cut Rose Tiko out and put other people in to serve the same role. Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They could have easily taken the weak spots of Last Jedi and turned them into a brilliant narrative, but the best summary I can think of with Rise of Skywalker is that it’s a sequence of copouts.

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