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RYAN O'NEAL IS WALTER HILL'S 'THE DRIVER' WITH BRUCE DERN

Ryan O'Neal in THE DRIVER Year: 1978
Literally an action vehicle, but not entirely, Walter Hill's THE DRIVER is more a meticulous, character-driven Neo Noir than Rollercoaster ride: This includes a brooding Ryan O'Neal as a getaway DRIVER sought after by a determined cop played by not only scene but entire film stealing Bruce Dern as... The Cop...

Driver Mileage: ****
The characters are named after what they are within a sparse and stark, slowburn template as no one means nothing but what they're doing, who they're after or protecting: Especially The Player, Isabelle Adjani, caught in-between as, speaking in deliberate monotone like everyone else except The Cop, her best moments are merely listening...

Scenes when Dern questions THE DRIVER; a more honest detective in Matt Clark; or the lovely secret source are even better than the chase scenes: Which, of course, directed by future WARRIORS and SOUTHERN COMFORT icon Walter Hill, are topnotch suspenseful and easy to follow – either dodging police prowlers or one of the bad guys who winds up after the title bad guy we're rooting for. And the  most intense screeching tires occur as he shows his stuff inside a parking garage, with no one chasing behind.

Bruce Dern w/ Matt Clark FILM RATING: ****1/2
CALIFORNIA SPLIT writer and scruffy character-actor Joseph Walsh, along with a scowling Rudy Ramos, are two of three bandits that eventually can't refuse a blackmailed offer, and with stakes raised, the movie veers into a somewhat convoluted sting-finale that doesn't work like the simple, more effective stuff leading up...

Autographed by Rudy Ramos and BRUCE DERN!
One one many classic Dern lines is "Guide dogs for everyone," The Cop says, along with, "I'm gonna catch The Cowboy who's never been caught!" Which is a line Quentin Tarantino would use decades later in KILL BILL and, in this case, it's the pulpy, talky dime novel stuff that really pays off like a dime novel, or a modern Western...

And last but not least, to unbury the lead in the role originally intended to bring back a retired Steve McQueen, star of Sam Peckinpah's THE GETAWAY based on a Jim Thompson novel adapted to the screen by Walter Hill, an unusually cast O'Neal, keeping inside what he lets loose behind the wheel, is genuine enough a presence to make Dern that much better against him: Like Charlton Heston did for Orson Welles in TOUCH OF EVIL, the main star, taking second seat to the crooked cop, still holds the key to pretty much everything.
Rudy Ramos and his own driver driving away from/being chased by THE DRIVER
Rudy Ramos and his own driver being chased by THE DRIVER in a warehouse
Rudy Ramos and Ryan O'Neal in THE DRIVER
Ryan O'Neal and Bruce Dern in THE DRIVER
Ryan O'Neal as THE DRIVER in THE DRIVER by Walter Hill
THE DRIVER is a Neo Noir but it's especially an Asphalt Western
For a movie called THE DRIVER here's the shot of a hot rod being driven
Ryan O'Neal rises into Walter Hill's underrated cult flick THE DRIVER
THE DRIVER opening credits in an underground parking lot w/ Ryan O'Neal behind Bruce Dern's name
THE DRIVER written/directed by Walter Hill
Like some Neo Noirs, there's a touch of bleak futuristic in Walter Hill's THE DRIVER at times
"Get In!" the iconic underground parking garage test scene in THE DRIVER
The nabbed red truck at the end of THE DRIVER
  Bruce Dern, a photo of Ryan O'Neal and Isabelle Adjani in THE DRIVER
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