Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Driver (USA. 1979)

Director Walter Hill is synonymous with stripped down. His characters are emotionally cold, they have little to say and they drive straight to the point. The same goes with Hill's plots.

The Driver (Ryan O' Neal) is a methodical man. He does his job, you do your part, and everything goes smooth. Don't worry, he's the best at what he does. A police officer (Bruce Dern) sets up a sting operation to catch the elusive Driver (Who he continually calls "Cowboy" driving the theme straight home) and that's the basis of the full run time. It's a tense ride, filled with a few fast paced car chases and a fine kick-ass performance from star Ryan O'Neal. It suffers from a few odd asides, but the individual sequences still work on their own. At the end, it's satisfying entry in Hill's work, but the biggest sticking point is that it feels like a minor entry in the life of The Driver. There's so much more under the surface, or in the future, but we just happened to enter at a point in time when things were exciting, if not earth shattering. It would have made a great series of films, but sinking like a stone at the box office didn't help its odds.

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