THE FARE **** USA 2018 Dir: D.C. Hamilton. 82 mins
Written by lead actress Brinna Kelly and produced by its charismatic star, Gino Anthony Pesi, this joins an elite group of witty, cleverly plotted genre-bending movies set almost entirely in a single car (Eric Red’s black-hearted COHEN AND TATE is probably still the best). Harris (Pesi) is an experienced taxi driver passing his long late-night drives by radio channel hopping between debates about time travelling aliens, male chauvinism and intimacy – all of which will prove significant to the unfolding narrative. His latest fare, Penny (Kelly), is flirty, teaches exotic dancing and knows geeky Marvel trivia. She also vanishes when the cab runs into bad weather – and, when Harris resets the meter, his evening returns to the point at which he originally picked her up, the two of them seemingly stuck in a gradually shifting time loop.
Neatly constructed around the concept of a protagonist in a highly repetitive job literally reliving the same task again and again, THE FARE maximises its own limitations and spins an engaging, character-driven yarn with echoes of classic old TWILIGHT ZONE episodes. Director Hamilton inventively shifts between rich full colour and moody black and white, dependent on where the story is at. There’s a nostalgic Hitchcockian feel to the underlying study of male-female relationships as Penny reveals information she made up to “get a rise” and time-passing in-car games provide both humour and further insights into their personalities. Seamlessly shifting between sci-fi concepts, romance and witty banter, this modern incarnation of “The Ferryman” is anchored by its terrific leads and doesn’t waste a moment of its refreshingly trim running time. Beautiful score by Torrin Borrowdale, who subsequently got the composing gig for Netflix’s LOCKE AND KEY series.
Review by Steven West