The Driver (1978)

UK Blu-ray



Text below written 2015-11-07


A Neo-Noir Crime Action with quite some cultfilm vibes about it. Ryan O'Neill is The Driver, a wheel-man for hire
by misc. criminals as bankrobbers and the Highlight of this film that's the really cool and pace filled char chases through
the streets of Los Angeles. Ryan O'Neill is a superior handler of cars and a perfectionist and we don't get to know
anything about his background other than that he has never got caught by the police, and that he receives his missions
through a female intermediary (played by Ronee Blakley). If O'Neills Driver really was that über good i'm sure he would
have a well payed career as a professional racer, rally, racing or stock car, well ....
Driver has never got caught by the police, but it has been close and the crime detective played by Bruce Dern desperately
want to get his hands on him, but The Driver always manages to escape, but by a narrow margin at his latest job.
The Driver lives a monkish life in cheap fleabag hotels and his only "vice" is to play Country music on a small portable
player, and as the witnesses of the robberies has noted this Dern's cop calls him The Cowboy.

And Yes, it definitely feels like The Transporter with Jason Statham as the driver was a Re-Make of this film, and i
guess that Luc Besson were much inspired by this film when he wrote his script for Corey Yuen. And not just that!
It also feels like Walter Hill himself has been inspired from the books about the criminal Parker by Richard Stark/Donald
E. Westlake where Parker often is a driver hired by robbers and, uses a female intermediary handling his jobs/missions.
And, strangely enough Jason Statham also played the role of Parker in the film with same name (with Jennifer Lopez in it).

Flashfire (2000) filmed as Parker in 2013

When watching the car chases through the LA streets i felt like i was still in the great computer game L.A. Noire,
which i played not so long ago and with Endless driving through the in the game historically accurate rendering of
the 1940's LA streets, buildings and monuments.
Ryan O'Neill walks through the whole film with just 1 (one) blank expression on his face (OK, he manages to look
a bit annoyed in one scene, hard working man he is) and it's a miracle that master Stanley Kubrick somehow could
use this 1 expression to his/it's advantage in his masterpiece Barry Lyndon. Well, he doesn't ham it up, that's for sure.
The somewhat sensational thing regarding the acting in this film must be that the legendary actress Isabelle Adjani
is bad ..... BAD, she stinks and just how is that even possible? I guess Walter Hill was no fan of actor guidance
and the script must be hopeless. End of the irony, not every actor is bad.
Bruce Dern is good as always in a quirky role as the smug and unlikeable police detective The Detective, yes, we
don't get to know the names of the characters in this film and Adjani is called The Player, the intermediary she's The
Connection etc. The robbers played by Joseph Walsh and Rudy Ramos were quite good to in their smaller roles.

OK, to be honest about it: This is a B-Film Crime Action with some bad stiff acting and lots of poor dialogue, But:
It's still a Cult Movie due to the Gorgeous car chase scenes on the streets of LA, the REAL streets of LA and in
REAL cars without any disgusting CGI anywhere - yuck, CGI film-wrecking assholes DIE!
The Noirish plot is smart too even though you could see the end coming. The Action is very well made and this was
only the second feature film Hill directed. This is a FUN Popcorn movie which makes me want to see some of the
old Walter Hill goodies again, as Southern Comfort and The Long Riders. Yeah, i really liked these early 1980's films
when i watched them in the cinemas once .... 35 years ago now, ouch, is it that long ago .... i was young (sigh).
widescreen 1.85:1, english 2.0 mono LPCM with HOH english subtitles and extras only an alternate opening scene,
a lot of Teasers and a Trailer. The DVD and Blu-ray has been released in most countries including Sweden

 

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