Dir. by Dominic Sena - 1 hr. 58 min.
by Clayton Hollifield
I'm not going to represent "Gone in Sixty Seconds" as any kind of good movie. Having said that, I've probably watched it half a dozen times, and I've been wanting to watch it again for a few months now. Considering all of the actors involved here, this film underachieves. But then again, there's sometimes comfort in a paint-by-numbers story, like the comfort in repeating rituals. Plus, goofball Nicolas Cage.
Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage) runs a go-kart park in the middle of nowhere, but is pulled back into his previous life of crime through his younger brother's errors. Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), a British woodworker/criminal boss, hired Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) to steal some cars, and he didn't deliver. Since obviously the price for failure is death, only Memphis can save Kip, by finishing the job. The job? Stealing fifty cars in three days. That means Memphis is going to need a crew. And then they steal some cars, with the clock ticking.
"Gone in Sixty Seconds" is like the gearhead version of "Ocean's Eleven." Not in quality, of course. There are no elegantly-planned heists, this isn't a crew of fashionably-dressed rogues. It's Nic Cage and a team of neuroses leading a bunch of stereotype-filling weirdos on a mission of brute force: steal everything, and drive fast while doing it. For Kip. And I have absolutely no problem with any of that. I'm not sure that one could make the case that having better dialogue, or more well-rounded characters, or really anything other than what's already on the screen would have improved the end result. I mean, I wouldn't have dressed the one woman in the movie, Angelina Jolie, in a series of potato sacks, and I wouldn't have given her pseudo-bleached blonde dreadlocks, either. I might have made the enemies of the Raines brothers (that would be the police on his trail, played by Delroy Lindo and Timothy Olyphant, and the aforementioned evil British woodworker) a little more formidable, but it's not that kind of movie.
For a car movie, there's an awful lot of oohing and aahing over the vehicles, and there are some pretty sweet whips here, but director Dominic Sena never seems to take any visual delight in the machines that all of these gearheads are driving around. There are no loving shots of classic cars, no emphasis on them at all. The chase scenes are all rapid-cut monstrosities, with no real attention paid to what's involved. If you're showing a lion chasing a zebra in the jungle, at least give us the opportunity to appreciate what a lion and a zebra are. And again, this doesn't really matter much to the end product. "Gone in Sixty Seconds" delivers exactly what it promises - Nic Cage being a little weird while trying to get one over on the man. But it's also morally defensible, because he's doing it for his kid brother. And also, screw that British guy and his silly benches.
Even with all of these things being provable facts, "Gone in Sixty Seconds" is still pretty fun. This kind of story gets told over and over again, and it doesn't seem to get old. There's a kind of comfort in watching the reluctant hero having to reassemble his army of misfits. Then we get to watch this army accomplish what seems impossible, until something goes wrong near the end. And usually, then success. And all of this while we have to endure the quirks of the man himself.
That story works. You can plug in any batch of actors, and as long as the goal is action-oriented, you've pretty much got a functional movie. Sometimes you can add in bits and twists, but that's not that important. "Gone in Sixty Seconds" is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. And the same way that I'll more than likely eat another PB&J, I'll probably end up watching this silly movie again, too.
2 / 5 - TV (HD)