The Driver

Walter Hill's terrific 1978 thriller about a cop's obsessive pursuit of a seemingly uncatchable criminal clearly anticipates Michael Mann's Heat, for which it may have provided an unacknowledged template. It's a much leaner picture than Mann's portentous epic, however, but just as stylish and a lot more exciting, with a series of stunningly orchestrated car chases, a satisfyingly complicated plot and a couple of instances of eye-popping violence.

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Walter Hill’s terrific 1978 thriller about a cop’s obsessive pursuit of a seemingly uncatchable criminal clearly anticipates Michael Mann’s Heat, for which it may have provided an unacknowledged template. It’s a much leaner picture than Mann’s portentous epic, however, but just as stylish and a lot more exciting, with a series of stunningly orchestrated car chases, a satisfyingly complicated plot and a couple of instances of eye-popping violence. Ryan O’Neal is surprisingly good as the ace getaway driver in a part Hill offered originally to Steve McQueen?but it’s the demonic Bruce Dern who walks away with the acting honours as the uncompromising cop determined to bring him in.

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