Speed Racer

Speed Racer ★★★★½

It's been almost ten years and there still isn't another film that looks like Speed Racer. The film begins with a kaleidoscope unfolding until the Warner Bros. logo appears. That single moment involving the kaleidoscope informs the visual language that is used throughout the two hour and fifteen minute runtime. This is created through the effect of camera wipes, but The Wachowskis go even further with that technique and use it to superimpose backstory, exposition and emotional imagery into the film seamlessly. The shot/reverse shot structure is all but swept to the wayside in favour of a camera always unfolding inside of itself or moving on by placing an image on top of another. This is to say nothing of the content of the movie which is always present in the images. The Wachowskis have a tendency to align with the underdog, and they do that here. Like in The Matrix this is a movie about a corporation who treats the working class poorly, and thus revolution must happen. But for Speed how can he start a revolution, or change the world by driving a car? He doesn't know, but it's what he knows how to do. It's his religion. It's his livelihood. Speed Racer is earnest like the other films in The Wachowskis filmography, but they've rarely ever been as sure of their filmmaking choices. They've often gotten in trouble by over-shooting and letting their movies get too big for them, but in Speed Racer they got it just right. It's a cinematic achievement that we'll hopefully reconsider someday as a masterpiece, because it is.

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