RICHARD NIXON: GETAWAY DRIVER
Firstly, I’d just like to start off by saying thank you to Co-Writer, Brian Lonano for allowing me access to an online screener of he and his brother Kevin’s, 5 minute Mystery/Thriller short “Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver”. Shot on authentic Super 8 mm and set in an alternative reality (or is it?), Nixon (played by Denny Holmes) sits in the oval office with a tape recorder recounting his escapades as an impromptu getaway driver for Phil Ochs (Dave W. Campbell) – the man secretly behind the Kennedy assassination.
I happened to stumble upon a screengrab from Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver that really caught my eye, add to that its strange premise and is it any wonder that I could hardly pass up the opportunity to check it out. With modern technology and equipment being as advanced as it is these days, there’s little demand left for content shot on super 8 mm. So when something like this comes along, the film geek in me gets a touch gitty. The marginally wider than 4:3 aspect ratio suits a film like this, one which is compiled of stock footage and simple low-budget additions. I loved the manic synth score in the beginning as well as the attention to detail in the 60’s aesthetics such as vehicle types and the look of the gas station interiors (or at least as much of it that was in their control). The sound mix for Nixon’s narration aptly fits the cadence of a worn tape, not to mention Holmes tone sounds great and the dialogue flows naturally. My only two minor criticisms of this not to be taken too seriously account were that the brief uses of sporadic background colors (obviously depicting a drug trip) in those visual effects-heavy sequences end up feeling more like a distraction. That and Campbell is clearly having a little too much fun interacting with Holmes in his early exaggerated behavior that he drops out of character momentarily and can almost be seen laughing.
Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver was definitely a quickie, but a surprise that I’m glad I happened upon. I can really appreciate the ambitious approach behind making something as out of left field as this is. The opted format was certainly a throwback that put a smile on my face, the set design and aesthetics look great, and the sound mix and score fit the tone perfectly. I’d be lying if I said a part of me didn’t want to see more of this alternate reality of Nixon’s criminal life explored in another installment. Stay tuned for more news and a release date for the film soon!
Richard Nixon: Getaway Driver – 8.5/10