Back in the early ’00s, BMW Films released The Hire, a series of short films starring Clive Owen as a nameless driver who gets into various scrapes and adventures whilst driving flashy BMW cars. The shorts were all noteworthy because they were directed by top-tier filmmakers (e.g., John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Tony Scott, Wong Kar-wai), boasted excellent production values, and featured a number of famous faces including James Brown, Madonna, Mickey Rourke, and Forest Whitaker.
In other words, they were more than just fancy commercials for expensive cars. (And for us James Bond fans, The Hire solidified the idea that Clive Owen would’ve made a fantastic 007.)
Jump ahead a couple decades, and BMW Films have released another stylish short film (or “branded content,” to use the industry term). Ostensibly a promo for the high-end i7 M70 electric vehicle, The Calm stars Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy) as a nameless woman who finds herself in a dangerous situation as she travels through the French Riviera. The Calm was directed by Sam Hargrave (the Extraction movies) so you know it has some solid stunts and action, and much like The Hire, it possesses a slick, cool vibe and aesthetic that’s certainly enhanced by Hans Zimmer’s music. (Yes, that Hans Zimmer.)
Given The Calm’s cliffhanger ending, I hope it gets a sequel or two. (And maybe even brings back Owen for old times’ sake.) I doubt I’ll ever have enough money to actually buy a BMW car — the i7 M70 will likely cost upwards of $200,000 — but I do enjoy their promotional efforts. Especially when they’re as stylish as this. (Or, as Matthew Monagle put it, “I’d rather have filmmakers direct a car commercial than have producers backdoor a car commercial into my films.”)