Entertainment » Movies

Drive Me Home

by Kilian Melloy
Sunday Apr 21, 2019
'Drive Me Home'
'Drive Me Home'  

One of the nice surprises about Simone Catania's film "Drive Me Home" - a tale about two boyhood friends who meet fifteen years after their relationship is abruptly severed - is that it's a story about people who love each other reconnecting, but not in a sexual way.

When Antonio (Vincio Marchioni) goes to extraordinary lengths to find Agostino (Marco D'Amore) after many years of silence, he's driven by desperation as much as by a wish to find his old friend, whom he has missed deeply. But Antonio is straight - as we come to realize when the two pop by a sauna for some late-night fun, Antonio ending up with two women while Agostino gets chummy with another guy. The flame Antonio has carried for Agostino, and wishes to rekindle, is one of the heart, not the loins.

That doesn't mean things aren't complicated between the two of them. Luckily, "Drive Me Home" is structured as a road movie. In order to spend time with Agostino, Antonio needs to take a few days out of his schedule and ride around Europe with him in his truck. The emotional terrain they pass through as they get reacquainted is as varied as the landscape along the route they take, which winds through a number of countries.

Antonio is ready to tell his story, and his character and actions are very much of a piece with the raconteur's life he's led; He's been a drifter and a bit of a scam artist. (He even gives Agostino a demonstration of his con-man talents in a diner). He's in serious financial trouble, though, and he's about to see his family home auctioned off to satisfy his debts. He's been a man without a plan, and he's just about to run out of road; as he tells Agostino, "You're the only family I have left." Antonio is a man ready for reform if only he can find a path to redemption.

Agostino is a harder nut to crack. Why did he suddenly vanish - not just from Antonio's life, but from their small town - all those years ago? Why has he never stayed in touch? Has he known love? Is he happy? It takes Antonio plenty of time and effort to get to the bottom of these mysteries, but when we finally learn the truth, Agostino's reasons - and his wary, watchful edge - make sense.

This may be a movie about moving forward, but all is not perpetual motion. Despite a need for speed - and being behind on his schedule - Agostino ends up with his truck out of commission. Luckily, the old friends find their way to a remote farm run by a retired mechanic named Karl (Lou Castle). It's a sort of agrarian Shangri-La where wanderers from all over have fetched up and made a happy life (and a loose-limbed sort of family) for themselves. Among them is a young woman named Emily (Jennifer Ulrich), for whom Antonio instantly falls. Will Antonio find himself a home among them, the way Agostino has made the road his home? Alternatively, will the boyhood pals pick up and head for Australia, as Antonio suggests, there to create a home for themselves? Or will circumstances - and the choices they have made - pull the two men apart once again?

Marchioni and D'Amore have irresistible chemistry, and for that alone, you overlook the fact that Marchioni seems about ten years too old for his part. (The guys are supposed to be around thirty.) The film glances at many narrative and emotional byways in passing, but can only follow one route; it's not exactly a straight line, but it's a memorable and moving journey.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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