The Driver

The Driver (1978)Director and Writer: Walter Hill. Cast: Ryan O’Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani and others. Studio: Canal. Release date: 1978

Car chases, bank robberies and cold stares make up the majority of this cult classic. The Driver, played by Ryan O’Neal, is a cool, calm and collected wheel man for hire who says more with his stare than he does with his words. The Driver is short in dialogue; although this isn’t a downfall and works out as one of movie’s strong points. The Detective, Bruce Dern, is determined to catch the Driver even if it means pushing the boundaries of the law, while the Player, Isabelle Adjani, acts as the wheel man’s partner and alibi throughout the film. The Connection, Ronee Blakley, fulfills the role as operative for the Driver and finds jobs for him with criminals that are determined to get their share of the cake.

From the opening scene to the final chase, The Driver is something to marvel at. Its car chases are so intense that you’ll lean towards the screen in order to catch every moment. It’s hard to describe the quality, and the dexterity of the man behind the wheel has to be seen to be fully appreciated:

The absences of music during these scenes (and throughout the film) only adds to The Driver’s unique, dry realism. Interactions between the cast is cold, but none are as rigid as the Driver himself who has an attitude that is entertainingly rude.

The Driver isn’t big in any departments outside thriller and action, which is a good thing as it isn’t held back by unnecessary romance, twists and other features that are often unnecessarily placed in movies in hopes of adding more depth (or an award) to it.

The Driver stays sharp and focused throughout the entire ride. A cold cast, gritty-setting and spectacular car chases make it a great film that is still lacking the recognition it deserves.

  • Reasons to watch: if you want to see a film involving driving, suspense, action, car chases and more driving. To have a look at the movie that heavily inspired the video game series.
  • Where to get: physical and online retailers should have this.
  • Favourite quote: “Do you know what always amazed me about you? A guy with your attitude . . . never carries a gun. That’s stupid. Very stupid.”

Have you watched The Driver? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments

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