One of Brian Dennehy’s last films deals with love and loss.
Brian Dennehy sadly passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 81, and he was best known for his roles in such films as “First Blood,” and “Silverado.” And simultaneously, in honor of him, one of his final films, “Driveway,” has been released online as part of The Showroom’s Virtual Cinema Screenings. For the record, The Showroom is a New Jersey art-house theater with two locations: one in Asbury Park and the other in Bradley Beach. It’s nice that they found a way to stay in business during the COVID-19 outbreak with their online screenings.
Anyway, on to “Driveway.”
Dennehy plays a Korean War vet named Del, who meets his new temporary neighbors-a single American-Vietnamese mother and her son. This isn’t “Gran Torino,” because the old man is not a disgruntled racist, who judges these two by their ethnicity. In fact, he grows fond of the boy, and there’s a sweetness inside their connection that wins us over.
The mother Kathy (Hong Chau) has to clean out the house of her recently departed sister April, whom she has grown distant from. And her little boy Cody (Lucas Jaye from “Fuller House”) is a sensitive kid, who plays with his tabloid, and helps out his mother clean out the house for it to go on the market. You would not believe how much junk she had in that tiny house.
Even Kathy appreciates Del for his support in looking after the boy when she is out. Even if he has had some losses in his life, he eases his emotions calmly and delicately. And his monologue with Cody warms us up, and it has nothing to do with PTSD. Just a little break from that.
I didn’t like to hear some lines in the movie, but “Driveway” is, to me, one of those artisan films with no major independent studio name, but with fresh actors who deliver such authentic performances. I was reminded of a film I saw in 2006 called “Diggers” with Paul Rudd as a clam digger overcoming a loss in his life. Granted, it may not be as iconic as “Knocked Up” or “Ant-Man,” but it still entertained me greatly.
But I better continue with my opinion of “Driveway” before I go off-topic. Chau provides some good acting, Jaye shines bright as the kid, and Dennehy is lovable, low-key, and emotional as the old retiree. These are people whom you sympathize and care about, and they all deal with the matter of love and loss.
And you also get Christine Ebersole as another neighbor and Jerry Adler as a fellow Vietnam War vet, even if you don’t get much out of them. Just a little piece of information for you.
“Driveway” doesn’t care for ethnic stereotypes or your average PTSD drama; it cares about people who have their own sentimental ways of dealing with life. They find good things and bad things along the way, and they win you over once you acknowledge them.
Available on The Showroom Virtual Cinema Screenings