The Unofficial Gone in 60 Seconds Fan Webpage|
Car Theft as Art in Gone
The major appeal of Gone in 60 Seconds - and it is considerable - is that it is a genuine primitive work of art. Its producer-director-writer-star, H.B. Halicki, is a wrecking-yard entrepreneur from Gardena.
His tale is about men who steal cars - from entry to outta sight in a minute flat - and the scenes detailing the sophisticated terminology of car theft, the stripping, demolishing and reassembling, are generally well- handled documentary.
The inevitable chase scene is the picture's big selling point - 40 minutes of destructive mayhem, during which Halicki demolishes 93 automobiles (and completely loses sight [of] his story).
The rest is a mechanical comedy in which a speeding, squealing, dust spitting vehicle is the equivalent of a line of dialogue and a metal-crumpling crash takes the place of a punch line.
The human element is largely restricted to reaction shots involving spectators. (The camera work reveals an obsessive fascination with hair - real and artificial, dyed, frosted, grotesquely overstyled.)
On the whole, Gone in 60 Seconds is lacking in narrative clarity and the handling of the comic and the dramatic sequences are not notably cinematic. Nevertheless, some adroit editing by Werner Leighton ties the bits together in a well-paced montage.
There is a flavor here reminiscent of films by Howard Hawks: professionals with deep rifts in their personal relationships and their women who are pushed into secondary waiting roles (unless they are able to get their jollies from taking part in crimes). The Hawks comparison can't be taken very far, but the fact that Halicki found exploitable art right in his own backyard, a Gardena wrecking lot, is not without significance for the future diversity of motion pictures.
Gone in 60 Seconds is now playing at selected theaters.
- MITCH TUCHMAN
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1-22-2001 -- NOTE: As per correspondence from the Los Angeles Times, they no longer have the copyright to this movie review, and do not know who, if anyone, does.