Monday, August 29, 2011

The Driver (1978)

Director: Walter Hill

Starring: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakely, Matt Clark, Felice Orlandi

More info: IMDb

Tagline: To break the driver, the cop was willing to break the law.

Plot: A laid back getaway driver (O’Neal) who’s never been caught becomes the obsession of a vile detective (Dern), who goes as far as to set up a bank robbery in order to catch him. Along for the ride are The Driver’s manager (Blakley) and a witness (Adjani) he pays off not to identify him. Trans Ams, screeching tires and car chases ensue.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

Looking at director Walter Hill's first 6 films is impressive - HARD TIMES (1975), THE DRIVER (1978), THE WARRIORS (1979), THE LONG RIDERS (1980), SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981), 48 Hrs. (1982). They're all very good and very different. He makes the kind of movies I want to see. THE DRIVER is a relatively quiet picture with some fun performances and killer car chases.

Ryan O'Neil plays it cold and cool. He has very little to say (350 words in total). He's at his best when he says nothing. Dern is always fun, especially when he's being a major slimeball. He excelled at that. The car chases are spectacular and rival some of the classic movie chases. It's pretty much a cat and mouse game with a very satisfying finale. Both characters are likable (even Dern who's a dick) and you kind of want them both to win. It's a fun ride and a strong, if not minor considering his other five early films, effort from Walter Hill.

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