Bikes on Film
By Ken Kaminski
There’s a lot of the kind of humor typical of fish-out-of-water scenarios, but unlike commercial fish-out-of-water movies, the hero’s innocence and fresh perspective don’t result in his triumph in the face of an unfamiliar situation, but in his failure at his job, and everywhere Z goes, he is abused and belittled, even in the face of his authority as a police officer. Against his frustrated efforts to get promoted to a patrol car, the bicycle turns into a symbol of this humiliation. While not exactly a celebration of urban bicycle riding, the feeling is at least authentic. I hope that, if nowhere else, I can admit in these pages that riding a bicycle on the streets of an American city is often unpleasant, and urban riders are belittled in the images of an autocentric culture. This is reflected, perhaps, in the self-righteous diatribe of a cyclist Z cites for riding recklessly in the park, the only other perspective on city riding available in this movie, and it’s extremely brief. It pains me, however, to acknowledge how accurate it is, so I assume Devor is at least familiar with the culture.
This movie is dark and subtle with small moments of whimsy. If you’re not in the mood for something slow and quiet, you’ll be bored easily. If you’ve got the patience to pay attention to it, you might be rewarded with some food for thought and maybe with some minor depression, despite Z’s ultimate hope, which he clings to for no other reason than his own painstakingly established character.