Sagarin on connection between observation in field ecology and the movie "Premium Rush"
It’s not just that Premium Rush is an hour and a half of intense observational overload, it’s that it explores the human power of observation as well as any film I’ve seen lately. In particular, there is a repeated set of effects that interrupt the action every so often to show how Wilee’s years of veering through the complexity and unpredictability of people, cars, cabs, delivery trucks, dogs, and dumpsters inhabiting Manhattan’s streets, sidewalks, parks, parking garages, alleys, and (in one scene) bodegas, has given him an adaptable observational sense that saves his hide more than once. Basically, as Wilee is being hotly pursued by a corrupt cop in a car, or an honest cop on a bike, or alternatively, hotly pursuing a delivery deadline or a competing bike messenger, the chase stops abruptly—usually at a cross street impassably filled with the aforementioned denizens of New York—and the camera closes in on Wilee’s sharp eyes. Then we see, illustrated by a thick curvy yellow arrow overlaid Google-maps-style on screen, the course he is plotting to get through the morass. He starts moving, only to find a hidden truck pulls right out into the path and he smashes face first into it. We go back to him frozen in the intersection and he plots out an alternate route. Now he starts moving again, but this time an unseen mother with a stroller walks off the sidewalk and Wilee takes out the stroller, baby and all. Finally, he plots a third course and takes it “for real”. This time, a sharp move around a hotdog cart and a bunny hop onto the sidewalk gets him safely on his way.