24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exciting battle between a cop and a criminal !
Walter Hill's second directorial feature is a tough, hard-hitting, existential thriller in which there are no clear-cut heroes. The Driver (Ryan O'Neal) drives robbers away from the scene of the crime and The Detective (Bruce Dern) is a maverick, obssessed with nailing the Driver and ready to use any means necessary, even if it means breaking the rules. He hires a couple...
Published on 3 May 2004 by Mr. Haseebuddin Ahmad
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
This one has little to offer, apart from the nice looking face of Isabelle Adjani, who however keeps it as steady as if it were carved in marble. The acting is mediocre (Ryan O'Neal too, has an immutable expression throughout) and the plot way too simple. What is left? Some car chase, but it is not enough
Published 6 months ago by F. Panin
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exciting battle between a cop and a criminal !,
This film contains two enthralling car chases which punctuate both the beginning and end. Hill has done an efficient job in directing these action sequences, capturing the true essence of what it feels like to be inside a car which is speeding down the streets of LA. The rest of the movie is just as good, as Dern closes in on O'Neal and imposes a threatening presence on him and the Player (Isabelle Adjani), a mysterious woman who is attracted by the Driver's dangerous lifestyle.
Both O'Neal and Dern are very good as the antagonists. Overall, The Driver has a gritty feel to it and some nice, suspenseful moments, especially towards the end of the climactic auto chase. The ending has a neat twist, too.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action speaks louder than words.,
This review is from: The Driver [VHS]  (VHS Tape)Wow.
The most enigmatic gangster ever to tear across your screen. You could write O'Neil's script on the back of an ace of spades, but the abscence of verbosity adds incredible depth to the character.
This movie acheives an incredible sense of tension between the mo' money ethic of The Driver, his relationship with the Adjani character and confrontation with the Police.
That with the incredible thrills and spills of this superb chase film and the delicious twist at the end make this a MUST HAVE CLASSIC ! ! ! ! !
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beats Bullit!,
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)This superb 'dark' film has some of the best car chases ever... I liked the Red Chevy stepside pick-up so much I bought one! The chase between the pick-up and the Firebird was easily the equal of the famous Bullit chase in my humble opinion..
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From The Driver (W. Hill) to Driv3r (PS2),
It was the first film I saw which had all its characters denied names; they are known purely by what they do - the driver, the cop, the girl, and so on. I've always believed less is more and Hill's clever psychological manipulation of the audience proves it in this and many other respects.
Apart from two women who love the driver (Ryan O'Neal), no one likes or trusts anyone else. This creates a mood of mutual distrust and ropes us into a cat and mouse game played for real in a real world where very little is as it seems, and where everyone has their price. There is death, menace and corruption on these streets. But for all its understated figure expression, character delineation and long silences, no such frugality exists when it comes to the action set-pieces!
These are masterfully executed and burst onto the screen in long segments, borrowing heavily (in parts) from Bullitt (1968) and even augmenting the achievements of that film with its real-time feel and handheld camera shots. All this creates a steady contrast in pace and narrative tension without becoming overblown or just downright silly. Hill resists the Starsky & Hutch approach to car chases - there are no alleyways filled with empty boxes here (well, actually, there is one - but, hey! - just one!)
In a film of this calibre, as you'd expect, there are twists - the biggest being saved for the end. And how they got that car to land where it did in the final chase ... ? Well, I'll let you see that one for yourself.
It has dated pretty well too, I think. I just wish modern film-makers would go more for this style of chase sequence instead of boring techno-boom explosions, endless slo-mo and scratch-rap-style edits that play about with real time. Just film it like it is - which is what Hill does so well, and in this respect, it is a master class.
Incidentally, yes, The Driver is the influence behind the successful PS2 Driver 1/2/3 franchises.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic car chase masterpiece!,
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)The Driver (1978) by Walter Hill is the last great car-chase movie of the 1970s. Following on from such iconic movies as Bullitt (1968) & The French Connection (1971) as well as lesser-known offerings like Vanishing Point (1971)& The Seven-Ups (1973), The Driver is a worthy successor which is just as good as any of them.
The story concerns a supremely talented getaway driver (Ryan O' Neal) who plies his trade in night- time Los Angeles while being pursed by a fanatical cop (Bruce Dern).
The Driver is a highly stylised film with very little characterisation, no names for the cast - merely descriptions of what they do; the driver, the cop, the player etc. The dialogue is sparse, the acting restrained (even Bruce Dern!) and the music pared down; all of which emphasises the drama, tension and visceral excitement of the car chases.
Comparisons have been made between The Driver and Le Samourai (1967) by John-Pierre Melville, in which a stylish, taciturn assassin is brought down when he becomes aware of his own emotions. There is a similar line-up & alibi scene which Hill has clearly copied. Alain Delon's assassin is a stylish handsome loner with minimal life outside of his work; just like Ryan O'Neal in The Driver. For both Alan Delon and Ryan O'Neal meeting a woman changes everything, the influence of Le Samourai may have prompted Walter Hill to cast the French actress Isabella Adjani in the lead female role as the player.
The story is gripping, the minimalist style (which could be seen as pretentious or silly) really works and the direction and cinematography truly excellent. It's hard to believe this is only Hill's second movie. A minor quibble would be the reusing of two scenes from The Getaway (1972), whose screenplay was written by Hill himself. The first scene is when the cop pursues the exchange man and a suitcase aboard a train and the second is when the driver fast draw shoots an adversary; both very like Steve McQueen in The Getaway.
Whatever, The Driver is a b-movie classic which had clear influence on James Cameron (especially the night time car chase in The Terminator) and Michael Mann who has created stylised crime pictures with tight lipped male protagonists in Thief (1981) and Heat (1995). It is one of Walter Hill's best movies in a career that has taken in the blatantly commercial buddy movies of 48 Hours (1982) and Red Heat (1988) as well as stylised Sam Peckinpah homage's like The Long Riders (1980) and Last Man Standing (1998). It's also an opportunity to drool over classic 70's American muscle cars and should be included in the collection of any movie petrol head.
The DVD package is pretty basic; 16:9 aspect ratio, mono sound and no extras. The picture quality is more akin to a well preserved video than a digital mastering with some scratches and dirt still quite evident. Arguably this bare bones presentation is kind of fitting considering the minimalist nature of The Driver but a digital remastering to improve the picture quality and a 5.1 audio track would be nice to really enjoy the roar of the engines. Perhaps a Special Edition in a year or two...?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best car chase film ever,
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)NO camera trickery, NO sped up sequences, just proper chases done in real time on real roads. NO gimmicks other than an occasional helpful ramp make the sequences some of the best and gritty car chases. Fed up with computer effects taking over then give this a try. Sure, the acting is dated and the stereotypes are there but look beyond this and you'll see the influence and some of the sequences for the computer game similarly named.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews!,
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)*** This comment may contain spoilers ***
Before Hill hit the big time with The Warriors and Southern Comfort, he made what still stands today as one of the great 'car chase' movies. Not only is it an excuse to show off some skillful stunt driving, but it is an enticing blend of crime, noir, and action with a bleak tone and some excellent dialogue. Featuring strong performances from Bruce Dern and Ryan O'Neil, The Driver has become a forgotten cult classic.
O'Neil stars as a getaway driver for robbers, mostly inept robbers. In the style of a hit-man they must find a way to contact him, and once the the job is done he gets his money and vanishes. He is at the top of his game, and no matter how many cops they send after him, he always manages to get away thanks to his driving. A local Detective played by Dern decides to make it his top priority to catch the Driver, and will use anyone to find him, do anything to catch him. Dern hires a bunch of criminals and orders them to contact the Driver and involve him in a false heist, so that the Detective will catch him. The Driver is not so dumb though, is cool and tough, and realises there is something odd going on. Trashing the car of the robbers who want him, he turns down the job. He soon realises the cop is on his tail. O'Neil gets the help of the cold, emotionless Player (Adjani) to fool the Detective, and they set up a plan to get away with a briefcase full of money. However, the Detective is also close behind them.
This has some of the best filmed, most exciting and raw car-chases ever filmed. Everything is done simply, there are no jumps between skyscrapers, but it is done with intensity and realism. O'Neil is perfect in the role, speaking only when necessary and everything he says sounds cool. Dern is also strong as the Detective who grows increasingly frantic and abuses his power. Adjani is effectively distant adding to the tone of detachment and coldness. We don't get close to any character, we wouldn't want to and that is not the point. We know what they are, what they do, and watch them do it. No character is named or given any sort of background. The bleak surroundings and grim cityscapes all add to the noir and empty feeling, which may mean that some people will not enjoy it. This is not meant to be a cosy film though, and has a suitably ambiguous ending. Also look out for Ronee Blakely, Nancy's mother from Elm Street Pt 1, as The Connection. An underrated chase and crime movie. No extra features on the disc though.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Driver,
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)Seen this film many times before and enjoy it every time. Can recommend it to anyone who enjoys this kind of action stuff
5.0 out of 5 stars Old School,
This review is from: The Driver [DVD] (DVD)I bought this DVD because all stunts are done by stuntmen, real drivers, without blue screen technologie.
It is the last film with old school driving.
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT,
VERY FUNNY IN BITS TOO..
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The Driver [DVD] by Walter Hill (DVD - 2006)