Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Speed 3: The Cruise

I'm not sure I have ever had such conflicting emotions towards a subject in a documentary. Timothy Levitch, in the span of an hour, is annoying, philosophic, inspirational, hilarious, sad, and pitiful. The pitiful part is a hard sell , I know, because his personality is so magnetic. But the scene where he has a conversation with the Brooklyn Bridge I felt really sorry for him. Timothy speaks a lot in this movie about being anti-civilization. He loves the idea of New York, but at the same time seems to despise the infrastructure. Does he not realize that the Brooklyn Bridge was built by men and industry that probably have no ideas or morals that line up with Mr. Levitch? He talks to this bridge because he feels like it is transcedent, which I'm not saying it isn't, but Timothy seems to hate the same things this bridge stands for (like "the grid"). Of course he does say he is in a relationship with the city, which would imply that his feelings might flucuate.

The most gripping part of this documentary comes on the actual tours. I think his talent and personality is really given a purpose with these tours. He also dislikes the idea of a job, but to me the most intriguing part of his life occurs when he is on the clock. I wish we could have seen more of his interation with people on his tours. I think it would have been interesting to see how people reacted post-Levitch tour. I couldn't help but think how happy I would if Timothy would have been my tour guide to New York. As you can see I went from questioning Timothy to almost admiring him.


  1. Insightful observation, Zach. When the film came out, audiences and critics picked up on the bridge scene in the same way you did. What did you think of the structure, form, style, cinematography, editing -- from a filmmaker's perspective?

  2. I felt the same way when I watched this a month ago. The bridge scene is the only time where Speed seemed truly negative in his outlook. He is cynical, sure, but there was this powerful reserve of an ugly anger that seemed to pop out of him there.

    More than anything, I got the impression from this film that Speed is a very lonely person. Although we see him talk to his coworkers and he references how he crashes at his friends' apartments, he is always cruising solo when not touring. It's sad really, because he is such a fascinating character, and he certainly has some very interesting perspectives on things, agree with him or not. I suppose though that anyone with so pronounced a personality would be hard for many to relate to on a deep level.

    I think that filming in black and white was a good idea. It adds a surrealistic quality to the film. It makes me think of the old black and white photos you see of NYC that hang in restaurants, homes, or museums wherein the city is a piece of art to be taken in. Speed's version of NYC definitely fits that criteria.