The Sunday Cult film Corner: “The Driver (1978)”

04 Mar

Well you know how it is. After 3 odd nights of listening to some minimalist perfection at the Tectonics Music Festical, there was a high need last night to smash up shit in a big way. So that’s kind of what we did at the MUCK release gig. Quite what some people thought of these antics is anyone’s guess. but it did mean one thing – it gave me the impetus to book my flights to London to go to the all Tomorrow’s Parties festival in May to watch…. SLAYER!! DUDE!

But today everything seems a little “muggy” and my legs hurt – A lot. And I’ve eaten a lot of battery flesh for the sake of filling up my ego tank.

On another note, today I watched Drive with Ryan Gosling. He looks a pretty guy who seems to get an inordinate amount of pleasure in beating people to death while also driving fast a lot. The soundtrack also sounded great, although it was funny that i had most fo the music tracks for quite a while.

But one thing when reading about Drive was that it’s “Influences”. Many films were mentioned – Mullholland Drive, Halloween, To Live & Die In LA, Day of the Locust, etc, etc. But one film in particular stood out to me, which is the subject of this weekend sunday cult film. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you THE DRIVER.

Directed by the master of gritty ’70s filmmaking, Walter hill, the Driver star Ryan O’Neil as the Driver, an expert with a car who works as a getaway driver. He is a cool-headed professional who has yet to be caught by the law. One person who desperately wants to catch him is The Policeman (played by Bruce Dern). the policeman is so determined to catch The Driver, that he is will to break the law by staging a fake heist in order to trap him. On the way The Policeman enlists the help of a robbery hang (with remission from prison as reward) and The Player (played by Isabelle Adjani) to mislead The Driver.

The Driver is a classic example of minimal 70s noir. Taking ti’s lead from earlier films such as Point Blank, Bullitt and Le Samurai, there is very little dialogue in the films. also the characters are basically stripped to the bare essentials, with no personal names (they’re simply named after their profession), and no insight into their personal live or histories. At the time Ryan O’Neil played popular leads in films such as “Love Story,” “Paper Moon” and “Barry Lyndon”, so to see him play an ultra serious criminal with an almost zen like aura was a bit of a departure. And he manages to pull it off rather well. He seems to have this neon freeze aura about him, with a dash of “why do i have to deal with these idiots?” exasperation.

Hill’s directing on this film is sphincter tight with no flab or slack involved. The Driver shows a shadow city. A city where business is conducted in anonymous sub levels car parks and there is a general feeling of disconnectedness with regular people. The Driver has some memorable scene such as the drive test scene in the car park, a classic of movie driving.

The Driver is one of Walter hill’s least known films, but one of the most popular with his fans. and it’s not hard to see why. So if want to act all silent and moody, while wearing leather driving gloves, then pour yourself some motor oil and get yourself watching…

1 Comment

Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Film


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One response to “The Sunday Cult film Corner: “The Driver (1978)”

  1. Barry J

    March 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    See you at ATP in May!


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