I recently went to a series of double bill screenings at The New Beverly Cinema hosted by director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) called ‘The Wright Stuff II’ with my buddy Matthew Dowling. One of these movies that we went to see is ‘The Driver.’
For me this once in a lifetime event was both incredibly enlightening and entertaining. Matt has recently introduced me to the fine talent that is Bruce Dern. I’ve been able to expand my knowledge of the legendary works of Ryan O’Neil, Walter Hill, plus I got to see this film with Bruce Dern himself!
The reason why this film was particularly memorable for me is that besides the fact that I got to see the film with one of the actors who played in the movie, but I can see an interesting film that has influenced many other films as well. A great example of this would be The Transporter (2002) which was directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen who I’m convinced were influenced by this The Driver as the Transporter is so similar to The Driver that you could almost say that the Transporter was a homage to The Driver!
The Driver tells the story of a man (O’Neil) who has almost no connections what so ever. He has no friends, no family, he lives in a tiny one room apartment by himself. His sole connection to the outside world is a woman (played by Ronee Blakely, A Nightmare on Elm Street Fame). This woman gets him connected with his clients for whom he is hired to be the get away driver during heists!
During one of these heists a detective (Dern) gets the scent of this driver who will stop at nothing to put this guy behind bars before The Driver can continue to help criminals escape from the crime scene! To do so he ultimately flips the leader of a gang of stick up men who is supposed to turn The Driver in. Thus sets this pstchological game of Cat vs Mouse into motion.
As with all great plans, everything gets shot to hell! The Leader of the stick up men decides to double cross every one, The Driver, The Detective, etc… When he decides to keep the money that the Detective had promised he could take from a bank as a robbery that he was supposed to give back to the Detective so that him and his crew could walk free. Before he gets a chance to take off with the money though, he is gunned down by The Driver who takes off with the money.
Now after The Driver leaves the scene, the sole remaining stick up man arrives only to see that the leader had been taken out and that The Driver had taken off! Now trying to find out what happened to his money, he begins to cut a bloody swath on his way toward The Driver for the ultimate showdown!
Now with the aid of the player and with time not on his side, and both the criminal element and the police on his tail, The Driver has to get some clean money and get away before he gets caught by one of them!
If I haven’t sold you as of yet on the fact that this movie truly is an awesome b movie…. Then let me tell you this. What makes this a truly Awesome B Movie is as follows:
1. Of course the casting is nothing but fantastic. I mean Bruce Dern is a comic genius. Ryan O’Neil I saw on Bones, and between Bones and The Driver, I gotta say I am impressed with this man’s acting talent! Isabelle Adjani, what can I say… She played her part so well that you could almost feel a cold patch running down your spine!
2. Of course the spectacular car chases are truly one for the books!
3. Also I found it to be rather hilarious the fact that the one person I ended up finding to be the most human was The Driver himself!
4. The last thing that I wanted to say is that I have been following Walter Hill’s work since I first saw The Warriors and I gotta say that I get more and more impressed with this guy’s directing talents with the more of his movies that I watch!
Anyway, if you get a chance to check it out, I highly recommend doing so! I thought it was great!