Film review: Kingsley and Hopkins shine in Autobahn
Director: Eran Creevy
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley
A British B movie set in Germany, with protagonists from the United States, Autobahn is a curious melting pot of influences. The trick is not to take it too seriously; rather, sit back, strap in and enjoy the high-octane action and faintly silly plot.
The director is Eran Creevy, the ambitious writer-director who went from his micro-budget debut Shifty to the bigger scale cops ‘n’ crooks drama Welcome to the Punch, a film that aimed to be a London-set answer to a Michael Mann movie.
Autobahn has similar aspirations, and there’s no doubt the driving sequences match anything you’ll see in a Hollywood film. Nicholas Hoult plays Casey, an American drug dealer living in Cologne. He works for Geran (Ben Kingsley), an eccentric Turkish gangster who is introduced to us, extolling the virtues from the John Travolta/Jamie Lee Curtis movie Perfect. Things change when Casey falls for Juliette (Felicity Jones), who says she will only date him if he gives up his life of crime.
Casey duly obliges but when Juliette discovers that she’s desperately ill and needs $200,000 (Dh734,580) for a life-saving kidney operation, he only has one choice: go back to the life he left behind. Reuniting with Geran, he gets embroiled in the dangerous drug heist, which soon pits him against Hagen Kahl (Anthony Hopkins), a notorious German druglord. Cue a series of high-speed chases that truly set the pulse racing, as Casey tries to stay one step ahead.
The vehicular stunts are fantastic, with Hoult tearing up the German freeway and cars flipping, skidding and rolling. But whether you’ll buy Casey’s ability to out-run his would-be captors will probably depend on whether you left your brain in neutral. Credit Hoult, who manages to turn his amoral criminal character into a likeable everyman (more than he managed with his vile record company exec in Kill Your Friends), despite having little to work with in the script by Creevy and co-writer F Scott Frazier.
While a dyed-blonde Jones does gamely with another thinly-sketched role, the real fun of Autobahn is watching Kingsley and Hopkins deliver two of the more off-kilter performances of their careers. It’s pure pulp, but it’s hard not to warm to these two warhorses going overboard (particularly when Hopkins breaks into a Sylvester Stallone impression). Maybe their work won’t end up on a career-best show-reel but it has cult appeal written all over it.
Published: March 22, 2017 04:00 AM