In Daniel Benmayor’s Tracers, New York City is shot to suggest that Rudy Giuliani never happened to it. No hipsters or weekend brunchers in the film’s purview—only dingy shipyards, gun-toting thugs, burning garbage cans, and overhead trains as far as the eye can see. Which isn’t to say that the film necessarily resides in a realm of denial. All that biker boy next door Cam (Taylor Lautner) has seen of the world is the real concrete jungle romanticized by Alicia Keys and Jay Z in “Empire State of Mind,” and in his long ride home to his sublet in remote Queens after an accident claims his bike one gets a mournful sense of how money—specifically the lack of it—so readily pushes the down and out toward the periphery of life. Nelson Cragg’s lusterless camerawork keys itself almost empathetically to the drab reality of the film’s spaces, settled and unsettled alike, but it can’t enliven the hackneyed plot, which follows Cam as he takes up parkour, first for the potential procurement of female booty, then to commit a series of crimes in order to pay off his debt to a group of Chinese loan sharks. The root cause of those debts are slowly, almost torturously, exposed throughout, in a storyline that suggests a Dickensian reimagining of Premium Rush, featuring an inert love interest, Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), who initially runs from Cam with a hysterical evasiveness that recalls that of the Don’t Look Now dwarf, and an artful dodger, Miller (Adam Rayner), with hands in multiple cookie jars. It’s a leaden, wit-free slog of a story that’s made all the more unfortunate given how otherwise seamless and fleet-footed the film’s editing is at conveying how Cam’s parkour moves so restlessly emanate from his sense of world-weariness.
- 93 min
- Daniel Benmayor
- Leslie Bohem, Matt Johnson, Kevin Lund, T.J. Scott
- Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos, Adam Rayner, Rafi Gavron, Sam Medina, Luciano Acuna Jr.
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