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The Films of David Koepp

The Trigger Effect

Stir of Echoes (January 13/10)

There's little doubt that Stir of Echoes' effectiveness is somewhat diminished by the familiarity of its plot, as the movie - viewed in the wake of The Ring and its myriad of copycats - unfolds in a less-than-surprising manner that ultimately wreaks havoc on its overall impact. The storyline - which follows Kevin Bacon's Tom Witzky as he willingly submits to hypnosis at a party and subsequently finds himself able to see and hear dead people - is nevertheless intriguing enough to essentially render such complaints moot, with the film's almost inherently fascinating premise heightened by its myriad of overtly positive attributes (eg David Koepp's compelling directorial choices, Bacon's expectedly captivating performance, etc). The ease with which Koepp is able to create an atmosphere of blue-collar authenticity certainly plays a significant role in the movie's success, as the director offers up a surprisingly compelling family drama that proves an effective counterbalance to the increasingly horrific nature of Tom's newfound abilities. It's only in the buildup to the finale that Stir of Echoes falters - Koepp can't quite sustain the exceedingly tense vibe right through to the conclusion - yet this is an awfully minor complaint for a stylish, sporadically gripping thriller that boasts a number of undeniably tense sequences and interludes (eg Tom becomes convinced that his young son is in danger).

out of

Secret Window

Ghost Town

Click here for review.

Premium Rush (September 3/12)

Premium Rush follows Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Wilee, a rough-and-tumble bike messenger, as he's forced to evade a dirty cop (Michael Shannon's Bobby Monday) after picking up a valuable package, with the film subsequently (and primarily) detailing the game of cat and mouse that ensues between the two characters. There's little doubt that Premium Rush starts with a tremendous amount of promise, as filmmaker David Koepp, working from a script cowritten with John Kamps, kicks the proceedings off with a blisteringly-paced introductory sequence that seems to promise Speed on bicycles . The better-than-average feel is perpetuated by Gordon-Levitt's remarkably (yet expectedly) charismatic performance, while Shannon effortlessly steals each and every one of his scenes with his menacing, deliciously over-the-top turn as the film's sinister villain. It's just a matter of time, however, before the propulsive atmosphere takes a palpable hit, as Koepp, on several occasions, literally rewinds the clock to explore the circumstances that brought each of the characters to this point (eg we see exactly why Bobby desperately needs that package), with this device, intriguing as it may be, wreaking havoc on the film's momentum and highlighting the less-than-substantial nature of the storyline. In terms of the latter, Koepp attempts to compensate by flooding the midsection with one chase after another, but it's ultimately clear that the narrative could've used a few more twists and surprises. And although it picks up again with an extremely entertaining final stretch, Premium Rush is, in the final analysis, a forgettable little thriller that never quite becomes as engrossing or captivating as one might've hoped.

out of

© David Nusair