02nd Jan2018

‘Driving While Black’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Dominique Purdy, Sheila Tejada, John Mead, Joseph Ansalvish, Richard Assad, Julian Bane, Mayank Bhatter, Joni Bovill | Written by Dominique Purdy | Directed by Paul Sapiano


What to say about Driving While Black..? A dark comedy spending a week in the life with a young black male living in Los Angeles, having to deal with the trials and tribulations of racial profiling. Making that job interview is ten times harder when he is always being pulled over for being young and black. Doesn’t sound much like a comedy right? But a comedy Driving While Black most certainly is!

Dimitri (Dominique Purdy) is a young 20 something black male living in LA. He is a talented artist who is getting all manner of grief from his mum and overbearing girlfriend about his dead end pizza delivery job and his unrealistic dreams of becoming and actual paid artist, when all he really wants to do is smoke weed… Oh, and he is being stopped by the police at least once a day!

We join young Dimitri in one of his most hectic weeks as he is in the running for a job that he just happened upon while waiting for his car to be fixed. The job is perfect for him, a Hollywood “Star Tours” of celeb homes. All Dimitri has to do is make it to the interview, simple right? WRONG! As is always the case of these movies, whatever could go wrong does go wrong – from his car being booted for unpaid tickets to his well meaning but not exactly helpful friends and everything in between. At the same time the LAPD have got their work cut out for them due to there being a flower-delivering serial kidnapper on the loose and all they have to go on is that its a young black male. Our main character is going to have to draw on all the skills he has honed over the years (via many, many, many pull overs) to go unnoticed and make it to his interview on time.

I’ll get straight to the point – I got a big kick out of this Driving While Black, but then I am a big fan of films like this: those in the vein of Friday, Clerks, Kids or Office Space; you know the type – the “talking heads” movies that give us a cheeky glimpse into a week in the lives of main characters. We don’t always need Michael Bay ‘splosions or Justin Lin car chases, sometimes a superbly written script and well executed direction can be all you need; and this movie has all of that in spades! Not to mention when they pull those comedy guns out it is funny as hell.

Written by the star of the movie, Dominique Purdy, who draws upon his own life experiences to come up with a story that is as realistic as I have seen in a long time on screen, huge props to director Paul Sapiano for this too. Usually when dealing with a topic such a racial profiling, the police in question tend to just be outrageously portrayed and overly aggressive but with Driving While Black Purdy strikes a fine balance between the brutal realities of the situation and the absurd comedy of it all, in both his well written and acted script (also taking a minute to show us that not every police officer is an asshole). Told through a series of flashbacks of Purdy’s experiences, you really get a sense of why he has become almost ninja-like while out in his car.

This is a recommend from me, not my strongest recommend but a recommend none the less. February is normally a slow month at the cinema so you could do much worse than seeing Driving While Black. You will laugh a bunch of times (even in moments your not supposed to) and you get a light-hearted glimpse into the lives of these young men dealt with by nothing but love and passion for the project and a want to get it right. There is no wonder this movie has gained a big online following from the fans and you should join them in seeing this flick.

An excellent way to kick off your New Year, Driving While Black is released across the US from February 1st 2018, courtesy of Artist Rights Distribution, Inc.


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