Friday, September 7, 2012

The Last Movie I Saw

I really enjoyed the new film Premium Rush, a movie choice made only because nothing else at the cineplex looked even remotely interesting.  It's chief appeal?  It looked like there would be a lot of location shooting in the streets of Manhattan, and that turned out to be even truer than I expected.  I've thought about visiting NYC each of the past several summers, but for one reason or another I never go.  So a movie like this serves as a kind of imaginary vacation, as long as the photography lets you really take in the surroundings.  Despite the fact that a lot of this movie speeds along with a bicycle messenger noted for his lack of brakes, there's plenty of chances to appreciate the landmarks, and hustle and bustle especially of the neighborhood stretching north along Broadway north of Columbus Circle (one of my regular stomping grounds thirty years ago).  What surprised me is how this stripped down story-- told in barely ninety minutes-- balanced action, romance, and comedy in more or less equal measure involving fairly well delineated characters. That last part is not typical of your standard summer action fare. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the lead character, is a fine actor so no surprise that he brings some depth to the role of the committed speed demon.  But the real scene stealer is Michael Shannon as the rider's nemesis-- a cop gone bad trying to intercept the messenger's delivery.  In fact, he may be the most entertaining bad guy since Alan Rickman's Hans in the first Die Hard movie.   The element that I most appreciated about this movie is that really nothing is overblown.  There are some nice stunts, but none that really stretch one's credulity.  It's a tightly told story, with great tension and a satisfying ending.  There really should be more movies made that adhere to such simple virtues.   

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