PREMIUM RUSH (David Koepp). 93 minutes. Opens Friday (August 24). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Premium Rush may not be the best movie of the summer, but it's definitely my favourite - a stripped-down action thriller in which gung-ho bike courier Joseph Gordon-Levitt and dirty cop Michael Shannon chase each other up, down and around the west side of Manhattan for possession of a very valuable envelope.
It's pulp filmmaking at its purest, a whizzy B-movie concept elevated to greatness by David Koepp's endlessly resourceful direction and engagingly self-aware script (co-written with his Ghost Town partner John Kamps), a charismatic star turn by Gordon-Levitt and a bravura performance by Shannon, who's the best he's ever been - and considering his work in Revolutionary Road and Take Shelter, that's really saying something.
In some alternate universe, this could have been just a nondescript programmer where Shia LaBeouf and Dennis Quaid play cat and mouse (or, more aptly, coyote and roadrunner) for an hour and a half. But we got lucky: watching Gordon-Levitt and Shannon go at it is the most fun I've had at the megaplex all year.