L.A. is a road that the city runs through. If you haven’t got a car in Los Angeles, you’re homeless. I know you could say the same about much of America, but no other big city is so in thrall to the steering wheel. You can’t see L.A. unless you drive. You’re not a part of it unless you’re looking out a window. No-one gets away in L.A. crime stories because a clean getaway means the end of the road: think of Faye Dunaway dying in a car in Chinatown, or Robert De Niro choosing death as he drives through the 2nd Street Tunnel in Heat. Director Nicolas Winding Refn can’t drive, in real life, but he understands the car’s hold over Los Angeles. Drive is a movie about hunger for the road, and the people the road kills.
Charlotte Bronte didn’t like Jane Austen. It’s only the veil of years – and the tedium of high school – which makes them seem the same. The spirited heroines might look synonymous, and the brooding heroes might sound alike, but no-one ever hung a dead dog from a tree in Jane Austen; Mr Darcy wasn’t hiding a mad woman in the attic; and no-one ever feared for their mortal soul in Pride and Prejudice. Charlotte wrote of Jane that her writing was “carefully-fenced”, which is a nice way of saying “bullshit”. Fair enough, I’m projecting here, but if the Brontes had ever met Jane in a dark alley, I’m pretty sure they’d have wrinkled her crinoline. The Bronte sisters didn’t write about etiquette; they wrote about the jungle.