The Driver is Red (Randall Christopher, 2018): USA

Reviewed by Ellia Rodriguez. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2018.


Randall Christopher is the writer and director of this animation documentary called The Driver is Red. This type of documentary is going to be a whole new way of story telling in the world of film. At the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this short got recognized and won the Bruce Corwin award for Best animated short film

One point of interest while making this film is that the narrator for this documentary was not found in the traditional way. Randall was just talking about trying to find a voice actor for his film with a friend at a cafe. He still hadn’t been able to find someone with a German accent. A fellow patron of the cafe overheard this and gave Randall his future narrator Mike Pinter’s contact information.

This story starts off with the narrator telling us about him being a spy. Then we are given a summary of events that happened during the Holocaust. The audience is told the fates of various high ranking officials in the nazi party. Then a telegraph was sent to the undercover agent March 1960 that just said The Driver is Red. We are taken on a story of two very different Germans and how one was finally able to be brought in by the other to face his unspeakable crimes.

The only time that there is movement in this documentary is when the narrator talks about travelling. This includes him traveling on the train, on the boat and then when his fellow spies and himself grabbed the former nazi. Otherwise all of the story is told by still sketches. This ends up bringing a stylistic tone to the story which makes one feel like it’s told from the perspective of a spy reading classified documents.

You can tell that Randall Christopher has been influenced by graphic novels and comic books. With the framing of these scenes it is reminiscent of these stories. One example of this is the shot of  Zvi Aharoni, our spy looking at the back of Ricardo Klement’s head on the bus. Then it transitions to showing all the different families that were killed in the war. This is a device used quite a bit to get the audience on the protagonist’s frame of mind by literally manifesting what he is thinking.

The Driver is Red is a great new look at documentry story telling that can bring even more people into animantion. It can also bring audiences that are into animation into the world of documenrty films.

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