Timothy "Speed" Levitch is a documentary filmmaker's dream subject. An eccentric, flamboyant, occasionally brilliant guide on one of New York City's double-decker tour buses, Levitch gives unsuspecting but tolerant passengers a healthy dose of his unique philosophy along with the requisite city lore and architectural facts. Levitch lives and breathes for "the cruise," his rule-free, free-fall voyage through the world: He's like Alice exploring Wonderland, naïve and omnipotent at once. Of course, Levitch could be mad as a hatter, but director Bennett Miller, like all good documentarians, lets his subject speak for himself, leaving the viewer to determine issues of sanity. Miller's movie, shot in black and white, accompanies Levitch on his job, recording the man's oblique and esoteric ruminations on life, love, and the city. But the most effective moments occur when Levitch is off-duty. On one striking occasion, the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge inspires Levitch to drop his Wilde-like aphorisms and let down his guard a bit. As he proceeds to berate all the people who have wronged him throughout his life, from childhood bullies to his mother, you can't help but feel sorry for him. Unlike, say, R. Crumb, Levitch comes across as far too fragile and sensitive to withstand the scrutiny of the camera and its implied audience, and The Cruise, despite Levitch's good humor, reeks a bit of exploitation. But judging from the way Levitch, an innocent abroad in his own city, copes with life, he would probably chalk up Miller's work as just one more stop on his never-ending cruise.

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