Feed on
Posts
Comments

Category Archive for 'Film connection'

James Sallis’s novel Drive, the story of a man who works as a stunt driver by day and as the driver of getaway cars by night, is full of violence, and the body count in the book and film is extremely high, some of the deaths coming at the hands of Driver as payback for egregious betrayals. At the end of the novel and film, Driver leaves this life behind and drives off, seriously wounded. Driven, its sequel, begins six years later. Driver has been keeping a low profile under the pseudonym of Paul West in Phoenix, and he has been successful in avoiding trouble—and in falling in love with Elsa. Suddenly, without warning, he and Elsa are attacked at 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday. Driver manages to disable one attacker, but the second one fatally stabs Elsa before Driver takes care of him. He has no idea who the attackers are or why. In the course of the next few weeks, several more attacks occur, but, still, Driver has no idea who is behind the attacks or why. Eventually, the trail leads to New Orleans, but his connection remains obscure. As one of Driver’s friends comments, “Do the dots connect? Could be all random. Separate storms. And in the long run what does it matter?” Fans of the book and film of Drive will enjoy seeing how Driver’s life evolves after that novel concludes.

Read Full Post »

Matt King, who is a descendant of a Hawaiian princess and the haole who married her and inherited her land, could “sit back and watch as the past unfurls millions into [his] lap,” but he prefers to live on his own salary as a lawyer. The primary beneficiary of the family land trust, Matt is now trying to decide what to do with the land on behalf of his cousins and family, since the trust is in debt and the demand for prime land in Hawaii is enormous. His wife lies dying after a boating accident, and his daughters are out of control. The author’s insights into Matt’s conflicts and his self-examination during his long vigil over a wife on life support, along with his daughters’ understandable tumult, provide some emotional resonance, even as moments of dark humor provide some respite from the tension. The subplots are well developed, and the conclusion is satisfying, if thin. Just released as a big film starring George Clooney.

Read Full Post »

Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo’s latest novel is a stand-alone, not part of his Harry Hole series, and it provides yet another example of Nesbo’s immense talent as a story-teller. In this novel, however, Nesbo lets his darkest, most deadpan humor loose in a wild but carefully constructed mystery in which the several sections of the novel parallel textbook recommendations regarding interviewing and hiring candidates for executive positions – seemingly a straightforward process. Nesbo turns the whole thing all on its head, however. Nesbo’s “headhunter,” Roger Brown, though much in demand both by individuals looking for new opportunities and by corporations seeking the perfect new president, is a loathsome human being, but he is as close to a “hero” as one gets in this page-turner. He has powerful enemies who are at least as clever, at least as opportunistic, and certainly as amoral at he is. By limiting his focus to these characters, however, Nesbo frees himself from the limitations of a police procedural and can take his story in new directions, omitting the law entirely from almost all of the action, and creating a plot in which Roger Brown and his enemies essentially play a game in which the “king of the chessboard” is the person who survives.

Read Full Post »

Drive, though the most brutal film I have ever seen, is nevertheless very worth seeing for those with the fortitude to deal with the darkness and graphic cruelty. Nicolas Refn, a Dane who won the Cannes Film Festival Award as Best Director for this film, creates a tight and spine-tingling drama of a character known only as Driver (Ryan Gosling), a young man who works as a Hollywood stunt driver by day and as the driver of getaway cars at night. A man who is emotionally scarred from some unspecified trauma in the past, Driver (Ryan Gosling) is cold, unflappable, and just what a career criminal wants in his getaway driver. Opening with a robbery scene followed by a high octane chase scene, as Driver and two robbers avoid the police and two helicopters, the film then shows Driver returning to his almost bare apartment and meeting pretty Irene (Carey Mulligan) in the hallway. A strange love story runs parallel with dramatic scenes, chases, shootings, and all kinds of mayhem, but as the film develops, the viewer comes to see that Driver has his own bizarre sense of ethics, and a real desire to help Benicio, Irene’s young son. Drive is a dark and violent but complex literary novel. As a film, it is also violent but far more earthbound and simplistic, with no real subtlety except in Gosling’s acting.

Read Full Post »

As a long-time fan of author James Sallis, I am excited to see how this novel “plays,” now that it has just been released as a film, a first for Sallis. A novelist who writes some of the most compressed novels ever, with big stories conveyed in a few perfect word choices, absolutely right images, and terse but revelatory dialogue, Sallis says more in one sentence than most other authors say in a page or two. His novels are the darkest of the dark, and the lives of his damaged characters are often the messiest of the messy, but his style is powerful and exhilarating despite the misery. In Drive, a quintessentially minimalist novel, a main character known only as “Driver” works as a stunt man by day and as the driver of getaway cars at night. Purely pragmatic and living only in the moment, he has no real dreams and no long-term goals, the result of his violent childhood, which was not a childhood at all. Opening dramatically with Driver leaning against a wall in a Motel 6 room, his arm wounded so badly it is useless, with three dead bodies around him, the novel repeats these images like a bizarre refrain throughout, as the background for this scene and the action which follows are revealed. In terse prose, as efficient in conveying information as Driver is in killing those who threaten him, Sallis follows Driver as he moves between Los Angeles and Phoenix, doing jobs.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »