|Rising star: Joseph Gordon-Levitt|
However, it is neither noir or the thriller elements that define this film. Rather it is more primitive narrative concepts. This is a film that returns to the earliest narrative form in American cinema, the chase film. It's easy to underrate the simplicity and leanness of the chase narrative since it has been integrated into the action genre as just another face of high concept filmmaking. By having the narrative events unfold in real time not only sustains dramatic tension but helps to continually foreground the chase through the streets of New York as the primary focal point for the spectator. Had this film been made in the studio era then surely the bikes and the city streets would have been horses and the wild west. Interestingly the western was one of the first film genres to integrate the chase narrative into their repertoire of elements so in many ways although the western remains dormant, many of its traditions particularly it's storytelling methods have been re-appropriated into popular Hollywood genres. In terms of narrative structure, the film jumps back and forth through a timeline that demands we adjust and re-adjust our perceptions of traditional narrative cinema such as a linear time frame with clearly signposted narrative markers related to a film's story and plot. Although the film does have its flaws in terms of poor characterisation, uneven dialogue and somewhat hackneyed ethnic representations, filmmaker David Koepp doesn't seem particularly interested in the wider ideological implications and chooses to maintain a sharper eye on narrative possibilities. What this means is that any traditional narrative interruptions are minimal thus producing a film that never stops breathing.