From a story by Stephen King, Big Driver is the story of a novelist bent on revenge after falling victim to a brutal crime. It is a made for Lifetime TV film. It stars Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett, Ann Dowd and Will Harris.
There are spoilers ahead.
In Big Driver, Tess Thorne (Bello), a famous mystery writer, takes a new route home after a book-signing engagement. On a lonely stretch of New England road, she runs over a nail. Relieved when another driver stops and offers assistance, Tess quickly realizes her savior is actually a dangerous threat. She’s raped and left for dead in a drainage pipe to rot with the bodies of other victims. Tess escapes and is determined to find her rapist and seek revenge. As she works to discover the identity of her rapist, she finds a web of evil that spreads in unexpected ways.
Tess is rather eccentric, a device that allows Bello to carry the film basically alone. She carries on imaginary conversations with her GPS device’s voice, with the real characters on whom she takes revenge, and with the characters in her novels, one of whom is played by Dukakis.
This is completely, 100% Maria Bello’s film. At various times she expresses a flaky charm, terror, a bit of insanity, crafty scheming, and fearless determination. Her incredible performance has Emmy written all over it.
The rape scenes are explicit and brutal. If this is a trigger for you, stay away from the film. If you can stand to watch scenes like that, you’ll be impressed with how skillfully done it is. The scene showing Tess being dragged into the drainage culvert is also frightening. There are many violent scenes in the film. Absolutely do not allow children to watch it.
With that caveat in place, I recommend the film. It’s beautifully done, in spite of the subject matter.
You can watch the film online. It will replay several times on Lifetime also. Here’s the trailer.