Directed by: Craig Calamis
Cast: Christopher Lee Gibson, Bruce Jarman, Amanda Powell
Within a matter of minutes we realize that The Drifter is going to ride a car of ambiguity. The film feels as though it has been designed to force viewers into closely studying the picture’s primary characters. And it doesn’t rely on the standard formula of introduce characters; introduce conflict; resolve conflict. No, this movie feels like a conflict from the get-go, and that’s the unique aura that surrounds leading man Christopher Lee Gibson and his mysterious nature. He’s a big question mark, and wherever he goes he sprouts more question marks than answers.
Slowly we follow this drifter as he attempts to outrun his own dark side. And his dark side is pitch black, to put it lightly. The more road covered, the more stops made, the deeper the man spirals into a state of insanity that one simply is not likely to return from.
And I’ve got to say this, for a film with a conflict that is essentially endless in scope, The Drifter sure feels contained.
The Drifter always asks the viewer what is real and what isn’t, and that’s compelling. It leaves The Drifter feeling like a little bit American Psycho with a dash of No Country for Old Men, and the tiniest pinch of The Hitcher, but it certainly brings a number of unique angles of its own to the viewer. This is no rip-off, and it never relies on outside influences. It’s a story that marches to the beat of its own drum exclusively, and that commands some respect. Especially when a series of flashbacks begin to explain just what it is that’s left a man losing grip on his own reality.
Although the cast is slim, it’s impressive. Gibson does a stellar job as the titular character. Bruce Jarman is perfect as Steven and Fred Lasday is perfectly quirky as Reni. It’s a strong lineup with clear understandings of their roles.
I wouldn’t go looking for insane special effects or big explosive action sequences. We don’t get much of that business, but we do get crisp cinematography and strong editing that both help the picture to feel far sharper than it could. It’s clearly a low budget affair, but it’s a wildly spirited low budget affair that’s destined to disturb viewers in the best of ways.