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Completely meaningless and a true masterpiece.
on 16 October 2013
If you want to watch a barely vocal Barry Newman driving a Dodge Challenger at high speed for an hour and a half, this could be the film for you. If you don't care for Barry Newman, or you would like to see him in a film where he occasionally speaks, or watching a car speeding across Utah, Colorado and Nevada is not your thing, then this film may not be for you.
The central premise is that Kowalski has to deliver the car from somewhere in Colorado to San Francisco in 15 hrs. No explanation is given as to what the hurry is, why it would be worth getting a lifetime's speeding points in one day, or why the police forces of three states should risk life and limb to stop him. Nor does history relate what the customer made of receiving a car that had been caned to explosion point and had had every body panel thoroughly bashed-in.
Kowalski himself is fuelled only by Benzedrine; unless I missed it, he doesn't care for food or sleep.
By way of diversion from his relentless high speed charge Kowalski encounters some odd-ball characters on the way, a man catching rattlesnakes in the desert, a woman who rides a motorbike without her clothes on, and some hippies.
There is a blind hipster radio DJ (Super Soul) who charts Kowalski's progress by listening in to police radio and giving a suitably hip commentary over the airwaves, but for my money this character has not stood the test of time too well.
The shots of the car speeding through the desert are terrific.
There is a great chase with an E-type Jag that is eventually run off the road into a river and totally destroyed, and dozens of police motorcyclists suffer similar fates.
Ultimately the film is completely pointless, but I can't pretend that I didn't enjoy it a lot.
I'd rather watch this than any number of episodes of Downton Abbey.