Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TODAY'S NUGGET: The Driver (1978) - A Muscular Voice

[Quick Summary: With one last getaway job, the Driver helps out a dame (The Player), and teaches the Detective a lesson to boot.]

Walter Hill has one hell of a muscular voice. 

I hate talking about "voice" because:

1) It's like trying to define the wind.
2) Everyone tells writers they need one. No one tells you how to get it.

But I can't avoid it here.  The Driver has a big muscular voice.

So I'll bumble around trying to define it.

What is voice?  To me, it is how a writer puts the story together. 
- How does the writer focus the reader?
- What is the flow? What choices does he/she make?

What is muscular? It's a blunt, direct energy.
- It pairs off best with action films.
- It's not limited to a male point of view, but does work well.
Here are a few things Hill does to create a muscular voice:

- The easiest to identify is Hill's trademark fast, spare narrative.

ex. "The Connection steps out.
A tall young woman with slicked back hair."

-  The characters have no frills, no extraneous details.

ex. To keep the focus on the here and now, there is virtually no back story on the Driver, or anyone else.

-  Punches make real contact. There is no backing down from conflict.

ex. When the Driver and Detective clash, one wins the skirmish, and they move on.  No whining, no excuses.

-  Men act like men, and women act like women, without either being weak or wimpy.

ex.  There's no hemming or hawing.  If I like you, I let you know. If I don't, I also let you know.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  A muscular voice is very sure of itself.

The Driver (1978)
Written & directed by Walter Hill

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