Street racing movie RUN is the newest release from director Scott Graham. The film features Mark Stanley (Dark River), Amy Manson (Edie), Marli Siu (Anna and the Apocalypse), Anders Hayward (Gap Year), and Scott Murray.
RUN introduces Finnie as a depressed middle-aged man whose best days are behind him. He and his teenage son Kid both work dead-end jobs at a fish factory. Kid and his girlfriend Kelly love street racing, but Finnie’s past as a racer has made him cynical about the sport. All of Finnie’s relationships are suffering—he lashes out at his young son Stevie and he’s so angry and bitter that he has trouble connecting with his wife Katie. When Kid gets Kelly pregnant, it leads to even more family tension. One night after tempers flare, Finnie steals Kid’s car and goes on a late night drive that could change his life forever.
There isn’t very much racing in RUN. Much of the movie takes place as Finnie drives the pilfered car around, wondering if he can finally get up the nerve to run away from his problems. Finnie finds Kelly during his drive, which leads to some nice conversations between the characters. Finnie and Kelly wait around to race a person who says they’ll show up but is running late. This serves as nothing more than a plot device to give the pair more time to bond. I remember thinking, Why wouldn’t they write this out? This happens in real life, but it is mad boring to watch.
Luckily, the fraught family dynamic compels the story when street racing does not. The title RUN is derived from Finnie and Kelly’s matching “Born to Run” tattoos (referencing the Bruce Springsteen song.) But Finnie’s days of feeling free to run ended when he had kids, and his “Born to Run” tattoo reminds him of what could have been. The relationship between this jaded, angry man and his innocuous family creates an interesting dynamic, if not a very original one.
Their home feels claustrophobic and lived in, which works fantastically with the family’s clashes. In my favorite scene, Kid accidentally breaks a leg off the kitchen table. As he rummages around for a tool to fix it, Finnie wanders in. Kid assumes his dad will be angry with him and he leaves in a huff. Finnie then causes the table to fall again, leaving him precariously holding up one of the tables’ corners. If he lets go of the table, all of the food and dishes will topple over. It nicely echoes Finnie’s knowledge that his family of 3 will be completely destabilized without him.
RUN is underdeveloped and, much like Finnie sad-driving his way around a small Scottish town, a bit meandering. It’s predictable, and it relies on implied nostalgia and cool driving music (like “Make Them Gold” by Chvrches) to create the feeling of a fun late night drive. There are no seedy underbellies of street racing to expose; no substantial rivalries or territories to be won. There is no material in this movie that is offensive or in-your-face.
RUN is a predictable slice of life story with a lot of shots of people sitting in cars and driving. Car fanatics will probably enjoy this a lot, as will people who like family dramas. Despite all its issues, it’s still quite refreshing and beautifully shot. But for a movie about street racing, RUN quite literally goes nowhere fast.