Doug Liman: In the real world, if you’re in a car chase, you’re going to hit a million things and your car is going to end up a total wreck by the end.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? One that won’t cause you to gain weight or lose your job? I confess, I have a guilty pleasure. I usually enjoy it at night, but this morning, I was surprised that I could enjoy in the a.m. too.
Oh, get your mind out of the gutter! My guilty pleasure is watching car chases on television. Here in Southern California, they usually happen about 10:45 p.m. I think the drivers do it at that time because they know they’ll make the 11:00 news. Of course, it’s a less dangerous time for the drivers and the cops following them, since there aren’t too many people on the streets and freeways.
Today was an exception. I turned the TV on at 6:30 a.m., and was greeted by the helicopter reporter talking about a stolen car traveling through the streets on this busy weekday morning. Driving through neighborhoods and past schools, it was incredibly bold of the driver and passenger to be driving at 60 miles an hour on city streets in the morning traffic.
While I don’t condone this incredibly dangerous behavior, I think it’s thrilling to watch the speeding car running through red lights, narrowly missing parked cars, and having no regard for lane markers. Maybe I’d just like to be in that car for a few minutes to feel the speed and recklessness. I don’t want to be driving, and I wouldn’t want there to be any legal ramifications. Perhaps we can design a theme park ride?
A writer at the Huffington Post watched a Los Angeles car chase last year. She found herself fascinated with the driver. She wondered: “Is that the fascination of a televised car chase? Watching someone running away when I know how futile that is, that eventually the runner will have to stop to face the music.”
We almost never hear the consequences that the driver faces once they’re caught by law enforcement. Is this a real person in real trouble? Could we imagine that the driver would get out of the car with a bullhorn and yell that he was sorry? Maybe he’s unemployed? Or terminally ill? Of course, these aren’t excuses for this illegal behavior, but what pushed the driver to the edge?