Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Just Another Day in LA

In the gear up (pun not intended) to the release of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, the director has curated a selection of films that inspired his latest. Edgar Wright presents Car Car Land is a series of films screened throughout June, all embodying the best car action from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

I was lucky to see The Driver starring Ryan O’Neal as the title character at BFI this week. The film had been used as a double bill at various cinemas with Drive. These two films are two peas in a pod. Both set in LA, both about an amazing driver who works bank jobs, both with no name. Made decades apart, but with similarities there is something grittier and darker about Ryan O’Neal calm and collected driver. 

On the mean streets of LA, The Driver waits outside a casino. It’s not long before he is tearing up the streets with a cool unchangeable expression throughout the epic car chase. Despite successfully out running the police, The Detective is onto the Driver, referring to him as the cowboy. In fact he is determined to catch the Driver, he sets up a bank robbery, making a deal with a low life criminal. But like most stories of this nature, things don’t go according to plan.

Known for its ‘no-frills style of filmmaking’ and amazing car chases, it is no surprise to me to find out director Walter Hill also made The Getaway, another intense ‘no frills’ style of film. The film is simple and despite the non stylized way of shooting the action, the quieter scenes seem as if they are orchestrated right done to a flinch. Each character is identifiable even though no one is given a name. Once the cars start revving, names don’t even matter, you’re too far into the chase.

After only seeing trailers for Baby Driver, I can see why this was an influence. The Driver is a criminal but you really want him to escape the arrogant clutches of The Detective, a perfect anti-hero.

For all the Londoners out there or those visting, why not come along to a screening at BFI Southbank over June and July: its Dustin Hoffman season!
As Dustin Hoffman, the ‘unlikely’ leading man, turns 80 this year we celebrate his  stellar career. Highlights range from The Graduate to Tootsie, from All The President’s Men  to Kramer v. Kramer. 
 “I grew up thinking a movie star had to be like Rock Hudson or Tab Hunter, certainly nobody in any way like me.” 
Want to see Hoffman’s best characters? BFI are offering 2 tickets for the price of 1! Simply quote HONEST241 when booking.

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