Alan Dee’s film review: Breaking Bad’s Aaron tries to step up a gear with Need For Speed

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It’s a tricky step for any hot young actor to make the transfer from TV star turn to big screen big hitter.

Many have tried and many have ultimately failed, and we’re not just talking about the stars of Friends here.

Need For Speed

Need For Speed

Whether cinema is the big step up it once was, given the strength of series drama being produced for the box in the corner, is open to debate – but it certainly doesn’t stop them trying.

The latest to have a go is Aaron Paul, and at first you might be asking Aaron Who?

But we’re talking about the seedy sidekick from Breaking Bad, hailed as the finest TV series of all time and a worldwide hit with the sort of people who devour box sets and then bang on and on about them. You know, Game Of Thrones watchers.

There are some familiar names like Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, and Michael Keaton backing him up in Need For Speed, but the real stars are the cars.

It’s as predictable as a traffic light sequence, but movie fans will have fun spotting the scenes lifted – sorry, subject to respectful homage – from earlier high-octane classics like Bullitt and Cannonball Run.

It’s drenched in testosterone and gasoline, but it only hangs around for just over 100 minutes so can’t be accused of outstaying its welcome.

You certainly can’t accuse director Terry Gilliam of being predictable, even if his output is wildly variable.

He’s back with The Zero Theorem, and one look at some of the darlings in the company tells you a lot about where we are going – Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Tilda Swinton? Oh, and Matt Damon...

The plot is perplexing but marks a return to the dark and comic sci-fi themes explored in Brazil and 12 Monkeys.

Waltz is a troubled genius searching for the meaning of life at the behest of a corporate giant, Damon is the heartless boss driving him on while French hottie Melanie Thierry gets to wear some fab frocks. Baffling and barmy in parts, but undeniably individual and engaging.