There was a charged moment, sometime in the early years of this century, when it seemed Lee Pace
could become one of America’s major screen actors. A sensitive everyman with a simultaneous, soulful outsider affinity, he made a dazzling debut as a transgender showgirl in “Soldier’s Girl,” but the slide into more workaday roles since then has been steady.
“Driven” is nothing if not workaday: A diverting, color-by-numbers comedy of mad moguls, FBI
informants and not-so-fast cars in disco-to-Reagan-era California, Nick Hamm
’s loosely fact-based film plays as a good-humored knockoff of Doug Liman
’s “American Made
” or David O. Russell
’s “American Hustle
,” without even those films’ Scorsesesque ambitions. Improbably enough, however, it gives Pace a role to echo his earliest, most exciting promise: As disgraced automobile tycoon John DeLorean
, he precisely etches an self-unmade man of tightly pinched sorrow, hovering some way above the gaudy hijinks beneath him.