BY ISA MONTAGNESE
First of all: this poster… just priceless.
So, I expected this movie to be pretty much just a pretty simple story about a sassy, no bull-shit, totally hot bike courier who gets mixed up with the wrong people but saves the day in the end. And for the first half, that’s exactly what it was, but then a few little details here and there made the movie a lot fuller and more well-rounded, and nothing makes a simple plot work like a solid ending.
The movie starts with a 15-minute, super-high energy intro chase scene where we meet our leading dude Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a too-smart-to-be-a-bike-courier bike courier who quit being an almost lawyer to riiiiiide, cause he just loves it, ya know? We find out he’s also the ballsiest and craziest biker ’cause he isn’t afraid to die! He’s got this lady friend who also rides but he isn’t all the way committed… yet. He gets a job from his gal’s roommate to deliver an envelope that is obviously something sneaky and illegal. Wilee, in the meantime, is being chased by a corrupt and totally old-timey New York cop played by one of my current faves, Michael Shannon. Their exchanges are hilarious because Wilee is a pretty average dude, but Shannon plays the cop like he’s in a 30s gangster movie.
The thing that really got me about this movie is that it’s an exciting cat-and-mouse kind of crime movie (kind of) but it’s pretty light-hearted and surprisingly sort of a throwback. The action is pretty good and the story is alright, but the characters are what kept me interested. Wilee is a pretty typical, straight man; the love interest is a pretty cool gal; the bad cop was spot on; and then there were all these side characters that were kind of hilarious. For example, the bike cop who just can’t keep up. Characters like these made the movie feel like a nod to the old crime movies; side characters always keep movies like this from being really one note. And I would like to make a special shout out to the two main ladies of this movie, the love interest/side-kick bike courier and the roommate/person of interest. I always note the number and importance of the female characters when I watch movies, and at first I was ready to write this movie off as a dude vs. dude story but the ladies had some serious importance!
The rest of the movie plays like a video game with these MapQuest-style paths drawn throughout the city, pausing where Wilee imagines the potential (and surprisingly violent!) outcomes of each path. Though this movie isn’t going to win any intellectual awards it was fun! And though JGL still seems like an odd leading man choice to me, he kind of nailed it! I bought it.