Premium Rush

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on August 27, 2012

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Dear Kerry Clark
Parking Coordinator

Dear Kerry,

Who knew parked cars could be so dangerous? Cyclists, that's who. We who ride recumbent constantly fear illegally pulled-over obstacles and swinging door booby traps that clog the arteries of a city. It's about time someone found a way to translate the speed and hazards of the road into a full-tilt action feature. It's also one of the most exciting and kinetic action films of the year. I just hope you were paying attention.

On one hand, you and the real-life superhero--literally a man in tights--of Premium Rush seem like the yin and yang of transportation. Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is named after the Coyote, but he's more like the Road Runner. As a fixed gear, steel frame, no brakes bicycle courier, he squeezes through the seams of the city and lives for a new rush every hour. By contrast, you block off huge sections of the street for a fleet of equipment trucks, craft cars and actor's trailers. Less sexy, sure, but at least it's safe. When Wilee unknowingly picks up a package worth a lot of money to the Chinese mafia, he's suddenly trying to outride good cops, bad cops, fellow couriers, and worst of all - New York City itself. Basically the same big honking mess you had to deal with every day.

In fact, you two have more in common than you might think. Figuring out where to put your vehicle becomes one of the most inventive conceits of co-writer and director David Koepp's storytelling. "Wilee vision", as I'll call it, slows down reality and simulates the potential outcomes of various paths. Beyond being a fun way to add violence to a film with a relatively low body count, the visual trick helps the audience understand the risks of the road. That might double as a kick-ass public service announcement, but the primary purpose is to keep your pulse pounding. And it works.

Despite all the Google-map angles and chronology mashing, _Premium Rush _operates on a grounded, visceral level that feels authentic. Peddling and having to earn your speed is only part of it. Unlike the _Crank _films that take a lot of their energy from hand-held camera work, the steady and smooth cinematography as we fly down the streets makes me think you had much more than a small guerilla crew to maneuver. Yet the story is always on the move, so I'm guessing those cars you parked didn't stick around for long. More work for you, but it's a lot more fun for us.

That said, I trust after working on this film that you realize the implications of your job. Putting a car in the wrong place at the wrong time can be deadly. But in this case, it's also entertaining as hell.

Ride on,


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