The Driver

The Driver (1978) movie poster

(1978) dir. Walter Hill
viewed: 08/16/2005

A moderately obscure action/thriller, The Driver is really a pretty cool. One thing I read, said something like, “This film is so cool that none of the characters even have names!” Which is true. They don’t. There is in a sense, a sort of spaghetti western atmosphere about the movie, with Ryan O’Neal’s titular “Driver”, sort of like the Clint Eastwood “Man with no Name”. It’s stylishly filmed, with very effective car chases and flashes of violence. It seems the kind of film Quentin Tarantino would love (and I don’t mean that in a bad way).

And it’s got Bruce Dern as “The Cop” who will go to any length to catch “The Driver”, setting up bank heists and consorting with criminals.

The Los Angeles of the film is really quite cool, too. Director Walter Hill used very effective locations in shooting this movie, from Union Station to downtown LA to the city’s backsides and industrial neighborhoods. Hill is, of course, one of the better, though less-known B-movie directors of the 1980’s, The Warriors (1979), The Long Riders (1980) , Southern Comfort (1981), 48 Hrs. (1982), and Streets of Fire (1984) to his credit. And while I am not a big fan of Ryan O’Neal, he is used effectively in this film, with his dialogue down to a bare minimum.

This film is a very good find.

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