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NEED FOR SPEED

SYNOPSIS:
After a street racing accident in which Tobey Marshall's (Aaron Paul) protégé, young Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) is killed, Marshall is blamed and jailed, eve though wealthy racer Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) is responsible. Out of jail, Marshall enters a big-prize cross country race run by colourful online shock jock Monarch (Michael Keaton), competing against five other drivers with fast cars, including Brewster, target of Marshall's revenge. But Brewster offers a massive bounty to anyone who can stop Marshall. Joining Marshall is Julia (Imogen Poots) an English car aficionado.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
I can say that the first hour or so goes by in something of a rush as far as the story elements are concerned, including some spicy street racing. We meet all the key characters, but the tumult of exposition leaves us a bit bewildered, with only good guy / bad guy differentiations, and even that is partly guesswork. Thanks to good casting, we quickly recognise that Aaron Paul's Tobey Marshall is a good guy and Dominic Cooper's Dino Brewster is a baddie.

We also easily identify Michael Keaton as the novelty character who provides great amusement as an online equivalent of a riotous shock jock with a special interest in fast cars as the man behind the De Leon cross country race with hefty prize money. It's a wonderful turn from Keaton, who has grown into a consummate character actor.

Humour also comes in the shapely form of the pert English woman Julia (Imogen Poots) who can look ravishing one shot, mischievous the next. How she came into the story I can't quite recall, but she is welcome, dominating all her scenes with likeable ease. The third source of the film's frequent comedic moments is Scott Mescudi as the daredevil pilots-anything member of the Marshall team, whose motormouth is a great tension maker and breaker.

The entire cast is excellent, with great support from Marshall team member Rami Malek as Finn and Dakota Johnson as Anita, Pete's sister and Brewster's girlfriend. Director Scott Waugh generates tension with a great eye for the use of the camera, and George Gatins' script is as high performance as the cars, sleek and effective, with lots of clever, well considered elements. Nathan Furst contributes greatly with a strong score, while production design is good enough not to be noticeable.

For all its predictable turns and its final resolution, Need For Speed excels at what it sets out to do as a gripping action thriller which offers us high speed escape and wish fulfillment.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

NEED FOR SPEED (M)
(US, 2014)

CAST: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi, Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton, Nick Chinlund, Rami Malek, Dakota Johnson

PRODUCER: John Gatins, Patrick O'Brien, Mark Sourian

DIRECTOR: Scott Waugh

SCRIPT: George Gatins

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Shane Hurlbut

EDITOR: Paul Rubell, Scott Waugh

MUSIC: Nathan Furst

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Hutman

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 13, 2014







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