Gone in 60 Seconds ★★★★

Thom Andersen wasn't joking when he referred to this film as "Dziga Vertov's Dream." The only cast member noted in the opening credits is Eleanor, the 1973 Ford Mustang that gets more screen time and characterization than any of the human characters. The plot is paper thin, often explained in ADR—we rarely even hear the characters speak from their mouths as much as see images of their hands and bodies working on the cars themselves. And until the big chase sequence, the film is entirely without narrative or much conflict, instead enacting little punchlines as they steal these cars. In many ways, this is a sociological time capsule for Los Angeles in the way The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is one for New York City—Halicki always gives us these little tidbits of people from all different class and race backgrounds that paint a documentary of what LA was like in 1974.

So for 50 minutes we get these little tidbits, and then break into a 40 minute pure adrenaline chase sequence (in many ways, the film has the same structure as traditional pornography). I can't speak much in terms of why Halicki's chase is so enthralling—the fidelity of geography, the use of both close-ups and long shots to get varying tempos, and the comic tidbits with the media (grandma with a cane FTW)—but it is simply awesome. It is machine vs machine (even the constant cuts to the dispatcher, who reports all this material with a dispassionate voice, is part of this Actor-Network Theory), and in the end, it is a world of its own. This film has a spiritual reverence for a world that was made by us, but has taken on its own material existence outside of our bodies.

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