Friday, January 14, 2011

Script review – “The Driver” by Walter Hill

I wonder whether Michael Mann ever crossed paths with Walter Hill – not only were both writer-directors good at both tasks (not very common), they worked on similar sides of the street, i.e. male-orientated action stories. They were also attracted to similar themes- professionalism, style, the blurred line between law and order (not so much a difference in their worlds as "professional" and "amateur".) Like Heat, this is about the rivalry between a super-crook and a super-cop, both of them excellent and their job, and the cop determination to bust the crook verges on obsession.
Hill said this script was the purest example of his pared-back writing style: the lead characters are called “The Driver”, “The Detective” and “The Player” – although the support cast are given names. The Driver is a getaway driver; the Detective is convinced (correctly) he’s involved in a recent casino robbery, so he blackmails some crooks into hiring him. The Driver doesn’t like the crooks, so says no – but then the Detective dares him into doing it so he says yes, which is silly. The crooks do the gig, try to double cross him but it doesn’t work.
A lot of this is reminiscent of The Getaway – a robbery that goes wrong, with crooks double-crossing each other; the hero crook has a moral code, but the other crooks are loathsome. There’s even a bit where a pickpocket steals a bag during a crucial exchange and the man has to get it back. But it’s a very exciting script, with sufficient twist and turns to justify the car chases. The best scene is where the Connection is killed – this is really good. You read it and the part of the Driver fairly cries out to be played by Steve McQueen, not Ryan O’Neal.


Odin said...

I've been searching for this script and really want to read it. Any chance you have a copy?

Bob Aldrich said...

It was on a website called mypdf scripts - - an excellent site which is currently down but will hopefully up again soon