The Cruise

An intriguing ride with unlikely and highly eccentric New York City tour guide, writer and all-around flaneur Timothy "Speed" Levitch. The David Foster Wallace of tour guides, the voluble Levitch simultaneously assaults and amuses passengers with his encyclopedic knowledge of the city. "The cruise" is what he calls the double-decker bus route on which...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
Rating:

An intriguing ride with unlikely and highly eccentric New York City tour guide, writer and all-around flaneur Timothy "Speed" Levitch. The David Foster Wallace of tour guides, the voluble Levitch simultaneously assaults and amuses passengers

with his encyclopedic knowledge of the city. "The cruise" is what he calls the double-decker bus route on which he gives his idiosyncratic tours, which touch on everything from the lives of literary figures to Levitch's insightful -- if highly subjective -- pronouncements about architecture. But

"the cruise" is also Levitch's personal love affair with New York City: He's a man on a mission, hurling words at uncomprehending tourists, hoping to get them to follow his mandate to love life and appreciate beauty. Filmmaker Bennett Miller lets Levitch do his shtick, focusing primarily on his

seductive patter, but we also get passing glimpses of the city's hidden marvels, as when Levitch has an ecstatic encounter with a Louis Sullivan building dripping with terra cotta ornamentation. The contradictory and lyrical Levitch talks ecstatically about recreating himself at every minute; but

given how seldom we see him interact with other people, it seems clear that beneath the poetic bluster he's probably lonely. And around the film's edges, we're aware of a New York bustling with people who don't care a whit about the architecture, history, art and literature around them. Though

Levitch's own family may regard him as a failure, and the city may relegate him to the margins of society, is he foolish to love that which doesn't love him back? The movie suggests not: In Levitch's universe, that very indifference is an integral part of an artist's lot. Like Baudelaire's

albatross, it's Levitch's duty to remain "exiled on the Earth among the hooting masses... his walk... hobbled by his giant wings." But when they flap, watch out.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: An intriguing ride with unlikely and highly eccentric New York City tour guide, writer and all-around flaneur Timothy "Speed" Levitch. The David Foster Wallace of tour guides, the voluble Levitch simultaneously assaults and amuses passengers with his enc… (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »