Some of the best road movies of all-time came out of Europe, but unfortunately Drive Me Home, from Italian filmmaker Simone Catania, does not live up to that legacy. Lacking a sense of purpose that would have driven the movie along, the film is watchable, but not as meaningful or thoughtful as the genre usually is.
The movie follows a man who discovers that his family home is about to be sold, sending him on a journey across Europe reconnecting with a childhood friend with whom he drifted apart years ago. The story arc of the film is relatively common for the genre, and as a result, all of the beats end up being extremely predictable. There are some interesting moments, but those moments don’t come together into a unique or fulfilling whole.
Like any other movie in the genre, Drive Me Home frequently meanders, but the interactions the characters have on their journey are not interesting enough to justify the wandering pace of the narrative. Some of the beats work pretty well on an individual level, but the film’s emotional core is not strong enough to sustain the narrative as it should.
Additionally, the movie’s themes, while ambitious, are not explored in sufficient depth. The film hopes to explore the protagonist’s LGBT identity and how it has changed over time. However, the movie adds nothing new to the discussion regarding these themes, simply approaching the same topic from a similar angle as other, more successful entries.
The character development is decent enough to suffice in giving the audience a way to connect and identify with the characters, but it is not to the level necessary for the film to be exceptional within the genre. More interactions with memorable side characters would have been beneficial in this regard, allowing the leads’ personality to shine more, but even spending more time with the younger versions of the characters would have been helpful.
Vincinio Marcioni plays the protagonist in a way that imbues the character with a subtle humanity. Although the character may not be the most complexly-written, Marcioni’s performance allows the character to be empathetic and compelling. Marco D’Amore, who plays the protagonist’s long lost childhood friend, has great chemistry with Marcioni and even steals the scene a few times.
On a technical level, the movie is relatively disappointing. Road movies have tremendous potential to be aesthetically involving if they take advantage of the beautiful settings in which the journey occurs. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t do that. The cinematography instead feels very plain and straightforward.
Although Drive Me Home has plenty of potential, it isn’t particularly impressive. That said, the film’s noble intentions and passable character development make it an agreeable, if not entirely satisfying, road movie.
Drive Me Home hits DVD and VOD on September 24.