5 July 2000 | Movie-12
Perfect casting and an precise sense of excitement make this flawed film successful. *** (out of four)
GONE IN 60 SECONDS / (2000) *** (out of four)
"Gone in 60 Seconds" is an energetic, slick, stylish action picture with high octane star power and lots of awesome looking automobiles. If you are a viewer interested in cars this production, by producer Jerry Bruckheimer ("Con Air," "The Rock"), is worth seeing just to feast your eyes on the glossy vehicles. Although the film secretes a stench of weakness in many areas, its precise sense of action and excitement make it a moderately successful summer thrill ride.
The film stars Giovanni Ribisi ("The Mod Squad") as a young crook named Kip Raines, who, as the movie opens, fails to deliver a long list of expensive cars to the powerful criminal Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). When Kip's life is threatened because of such, his older brother, Randall "Memphis" Raines (Nicolas Cage), a retired but skillful car thief, is called upon to complete a task in exchange for his brother's survival: steel fifty cars-specified by model, color, year, and make-in only four days.
Memphis disburses the first three days recruiting a team of bandits to help him pull off the heist. The crew includes Sara "Sway" Wayland (Angelina Jolie), a sexy yet gruff retired car swindler knowing Memphis through previous business, a fellow named Mirror Man (T.J. Cross), the aging and wise Otto Halliwell (Robert DuVall), as well as Tumbler (Scott Caan), Atley Jackson (Will Patton), Toby (William Lee Scott), and Donny Astricky (Chi McBrde).
Contributing to the film's drive and tension is a subplot involving two police detectives, Roland Castlebeck (Delroy Lindo) and Drycoff (Timothy Olyphant), who suspect from previous experience that Memphis and his crew are up to no good and keep an extra close eye on them.
There is not much time for character development here; the audience gets to know these people though their rugged lifestyles and assume tough personalities through the films hard core, stylish atmosphere. To make matters even worse for the film, the dialogue fails to define the characters with a gritty cultural tone. I am not stating I think profanity and vulgarism is necessary for thrillers to flourish; I actually honor the director's decision to sustain from extreme foul language in a movie that could have very effortlessly earned an R-rating. However, I do believe in a movie such as "Gone in 60 Seconds," to strongly develop the character's enlightenment, dialogue needs to be believable and authentic.
In spite of problems, the characters are effective due to the top notch, perfectly cast performers responsible. Nicolas Cage's melodramatic performance is intense and convincing. Angelina Jolie's sleazy appearance is completely appropriate here. Delroy Lindo is deliciously sturdy and believable. Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Caan, Robert Duvall, Will Patton, and Christopher Eccleston provide persuasive supporting roles.
The film contains standard structure, with a satisfactory first act that elaborates on the story's style and the character's motives, sets up a fast-paced theme of action, but lacks depth and strong character introduction. In the second act we run into a few more problems: the story wastes time during much of this segment, never really building up for the third act. While the middle of the movie occupies much time, and a sex scene provides a solid mid-plot, not a whole lot happens. The third act is pretty much a sheer adrenaline rush containing furious wall-to-wall excitement and one of the most intense car chase sequences ever filmed.
The soundtrack to "Gone in 60 Seconds" contributes a great deal to the inspirational action scenes. It is scenes like the car chases that makes this movie work in spite of several destructive faults. Dominic Sena, whose career has mostly consisted of directing commercials, has an appealing style and a decisive attitude in "Gone in 60 Seconds" which will grant audiences with two hours of commotion, thrills, and excitement
but not much more.