To Thieve and Drive in LA film marathon: Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm
The Driver (Hill, 1978)
Thief (Mann, 1988)
To Live & Die in L.A. (Friedkin, 1985) &
Drive (Winding Refn, 2011)
What a line-up - this is film programming at its very best.
Chicago Reader review of The Driver:
'An audacious, skillful film noir (1978) by Walter Hill, so highly stylized that it's guaranteed to alienate 90 percent of its audience. There's no realism, no psychology, and very little plot in Hill's story of a deadly game between a professional getaway driver (Ryan O'Neal) and a detective obsessed with catching him (Bruce Dern). There is, however, a great deal of technically sophisticated and very imaginative filmmaking. The cross-references here are Howard Hawks, Robert Bresson, and Jean-Pierre Melville: a strange, heady, and quite effective range of influences.'
Time Out review of Thief:
'A silently professional night-time jewel robbery, reduced to near-abstract essentials and paced by a Tangerine Dream score, sets the electric tone for Mann's fine follow-up to The Jericho Mile: a philosophical thriller filled with modernist cool. Caan's the thief, contradictorily building and risking a future mapped out as meticulously as any of his lucrative hi-tech jobs; testing his emotional and criminal independence to the limits; eventually recognising that he's either exercising or exorcising a death wish.'
Time Out review of To Live and Die in L.A:
'Dafoe is an LA supercrook, forging dollar bills for a city whose sole form of social intercourse resides in the getting, counting, and spending of large sums of money. This is a city (photographed by Robby Müllerwith the same luminosity he brought to Paris, Texas) where everyone is on the take, and that includes the two FBI agents (Petersen and Pankow) who are out to break Dafoe by any means. It all goes horribly wrong when they decide to pull their own heist in order to secure the necessary funds to stay in hot pursuit. Friedkin plays it as brutal and cynical as he ever did with The French Connection; and this time the car chase takes place on a six-lane freeway at the height of the rush hour, going against the traffic. Today, the play-dirty antics of Popeye Doyle probably look rather dated; God knows what state we will have to get into before all this looks tame.'
Time Out review of Drive:
'The truly great ‘LA noir’ movies – ‘Point Blank’, ‘The Driver’, ‘Straight Time’, ‘To Live and Die in LA’, ‘Heat’ – share common characteristics beyond the basic clichés of the crime genre. These are movies informed by the city in which they were made, a city constructed of gleaming surfaces – six-lane highways, vast industrial wastelands and endless suburban sprawl – and a place where crime is grubby and small-time, carried out by empty, hopeless loners in hock to dapper despots with unpredictable personalities. It’s in this world that we find the near-silent hero of ‘Drive’, Nicolas Winding Refn’s self-consciously slick, synth-scored throwback. Ryan Gosling plays the unnamed Driver, a mechanic and occasional getaway guy whose life is overturned when he meets Irene (Carey Mulligan), a struggling mum with a husband in the joint. As all the above implies, this is a film built on familiarity, in terms of narrative and style: neon lights flash, rubber tyres screech, Gosling broods, Mulligan swoons and a trio of wisecracking, overdressed character actors –Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Bryan Cranston – provide both levity and dramatic weight. But ‘Drive’ never drags: this is an entirely welcome riff on old material, a pulse-pounding, electronically enhanced cover version of a beloved standard. Sure, it’s shallow, but it’s also slickly compelling, beautifully crafted and so damn shiny.'
Here is the trailer for The Driver