Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez
Director: David Koepp
Running Time: 92 mins
Premium Rush is an American film about a New York cyclist delivery man who takes possession of a seemingly innocuous envelope, until he finds himself relentlessly pursued across the city several times by a determined police officer.
I really enjoyed this film. With a simple and well-directed premise, Premium Rush is an exciting and engaging watch throughout, fantastically directed and acted with pace and energy from start to finish. Although some of its story details may be a little overly complex from time to time, it’s on the whole a very slick and exciting movie.
When the film kicks off, you may be expecting something more to develop out of the setup. However, the brilliance of Premium Rush is that it sets up a wide playing field with a large range of characters, and yet manages to expertly weave them all into a very simple chase story up and down Manhattan Island. So, while the film may not have the character depth or anything more dramatic that you may be expecting, it works perfectly in delivering its intended rapid-fire chase story, and it’s huge fun to watch throughout.
In very similar style to Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, the film snowballs from a slow setup phase into a mad and crazed action movie filled with conflicting parties and allegiances. Now, although Premium Rush doesn’t always manage to make the details of its story quite so engrossing, often getting a little convoluted when explaining why exactly the situation has come about, what it does do brilliantly is bring together all of those characters to make for a hugely chaotic but massively entertaining plot, on a level similar to what Lock, Stock is so famous for.
Not only is the story excellent here, but also the directing. David Koepp does an excellent job at holding that plot together, and streamlining it to the extent where you can have fun with this film as a simple and slick chase movie. Koepp’s directing is fast-paced and pretty relentless, with the film barely taking a moment to breathe, but what that does is keep you fully invested in and excited by the plot even when it’s occasionally a little too convoluted, helping the film massively in making it such an entertaining watch.
And finally, there’s the performances. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very likable lead, with enough charm and conviction on screen to convince you of his character’s mission, while Michael Shannon is even better as his pursuer, representing a genuinely unsettling villain while also keeping the movie down to earth as he attempts to evade prying eyes getting in on the situation.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Premium Rush. Brilliantly directed throughout, and featuring strong performances, it’s an exciting and rapid-fire movie, but it’s also a slick and blissfully simple one for the most part. Despite a couple of overly complex smaller plot details, it’s so easy to enjoy as a pure chase movie for an hour and a half, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.