The Driver (1978)

The Driver. Walter Hill. The director’s best early work, an update on cops and robbers that favors the robber. The cop, in this case Bruce Dern at his most electrically frenzied as a detective gone bad, matches wits with the outlaw, the titular ‘driver’, played by Ryan O’Neal. The characters remain nameless archetypes. LA by night is lensed straight from the noir playbook in heavy chiaroscuro and what, especially in our current digital age, seems like especially luminous 35mm film; the late seventies décor is so harshly lit that everyone’s hair appears to be made of Brillo. Some of the best car chases ever filmed contrast with performances that remain opaque and stagey. O’Neal must have been going through an especially deep cocaine and Quaalude interlude: his performance is stiffer than his usual wooden caricatures. But it works. He personifies a man incapable of emotion,  a machine that only comes alive when he drives. As an exploration of the outlaw ethos, the movie remains unsurpassed in Hill’s oeuvre. Pop culture bonus: The femme fatale is played by stunning Isabelle Yasmine Adjani, who also plays Lucy in Werner Herzog’s visionary remake of Nosferatu AND stars in the Luc Besson/Christopher Lambert cult classic Subway. Wow!

Tags: , , ,

About DrGSupreme

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Being Part of Our Great History...

Forgotten Films

A look at the movies forgotten by time


Give her food and she will conquer the world

Wonderful Cinema

Short reviews on high quality films. No spoilers.


An annual review of prose, poetry, and artwork, published in affiliation with San Diego State University



Street Talk

Word on the street is...

%d bloggers like this: