Two weeks, two Joseph Gordon-Levitt movies. It’s been quite the year for the man with probably the best-developed character arc in the last Batman movie. So what is it like when the man headlines his own movie?
Energetic is definitely a word one should use to describe Premium Rush. The film really moves. And only when it stops does it tend to prompt fidgeting.
The narrative is fairly straightforward: Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) is a bicycle messenger who has to deliver an envelope from a girl called Nima (Jamie Chung)—who happens to be the roommate of his on-again, off-again girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez)—to a certain place, by a certain time. Problem is, a cop named Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) wants the envelope and will do anything to get it away from Wilee.
What follows is a chase movie through the crowded streets of New York. With a few callbacks to some time earlier in the day to help explain why everyone is in the position they are.
I love non-linear narratives. Most of the screenplays I write keep jumping back and forth in time. But I’m not entirely sure the skipping back in time to bring everyone’s stories up to date was a good choice for this film.
David Koepp, the director (and co-writer) has written such big ticket movies as Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man, War of the Worlds, and Angels and Demons so you’d think he knew what he was doing with this jigsaw puzzle tale. Not so much.
The movie is fun as long as we stay with Wilee and his crazy bike-riding ways. The momentum of the film is punctured the moment we are introduced to the Big Bad. The way Mr. Shannon plays Monday, he is a loser who gets in over his head. He doesn’t ever really pose a major danger to hyper-alert, wizard-on-two-wheels Wilee.
This is the type of movie you enjoy on a lazy afternoon when it plays on TV; or the DVD you rent because it has that guy who was so good in that other movie.
So yeah, Premium Rush. Fun in parts, fleetingly exciting, and that’s about it.