Jack Nicholson's directorial debut is a kinetic burst of late sixties/early seventies zeitgeist. From the get go, Drive, He Said, evolves out of sports film into protest film, into romance film. William Tepper is Hector, a basketball player who is involved in an affair with Karen Black's Olive. She's married to a professor at the college that Hector plays ball for, and he seems completely oblivious to what's going on. While this is happening, there is a simultaneous story going on of Hector's roommate, Gabriel (Michael Margotta), who is trying to lead a campus revolution while dodging the draft for Vietnam.
Nicholson really tries to shove as many ideas as he possibly can into this film, and somehow manages to do so, without becoming preachy. The film keeps a steady pace, which is appreciated as a film like this could end up meandering VERY easily. The acting in it can be questionable sometimes, but with great cinematography and a sense of urgency, Drive, He Said, feels like an important watch, especially when focusing on films of the period. It reminded me, a lot, of Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool.