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Night Drive A Desperately Dark One-Night Scam – By Subhash K Jha


Night Drive

Directed by Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon

Rating: ** ½

A ride-share scheme that becomes anything but a joyride for the cabbie, Russel played by A J Bowen.

This implausible crime thriller gets most of its crime jabs from a script that cranes its neck out far, sometimes so far out into the darkness that it can’t see where it will hit its head.

This is the kind of one-night slam that noire-enthusiasts enjoy even if the plot gets excessively woozy and blood-soaked.Towards the end it’s all so bizarre as to seem unreal.

This one sure goes from flirty to ferocious without batting an eyelid.Eyelids are kept solidly unglued as co-travellers Russell and his weird passenger Chartlotte(Sophie Dalah) take some bumpy detours through a crime route that sets your teeth on edge.

Really, how can this experienced cab driver(he must in his early 50s) be taken for a ride so easily?!

That the girl is a bit of a con is easy for all of us to see from the start. Russell can only see the crisp dollar bills she pushes towards him in order to get him to make some monstrously ill-fated detours.

By the time the road thriller’s favourite trope—body in the dickey –happens, the screenplay has lost its completely.

While the film’s tone gets darker and darker, it also gets hard to believe that a seasoned cabbie driver in LA can be so naïve .

Without giving away the plot it can easily be said that the deeper the protagonist Russell gets into his pretty passenger’s perverse overnight prosperity-plans, the harder it gets to swallow Russell’s involvement with Charlotte’s crime frame.

Why doesn’t he just flee when he still has time?And if it was too late why doesn’t he abandon her on the road as he threatens more than once?

Is there a Lolita styled-attraction between this middle aged taxi driver and his pretty but freaked- out passenger?

Maybe the tides turn too quickly in the plot for anyone, least of all the characters, to take control of their own destiny.

As far as one-night rides are concerned I’ve seen better ones, the Malayalam film Bannerghatta for on,e, where there was just one character grappling with problems all through the night.

He was better off than this cabbie whose life goes downhill once Charlotte hops aboard.

Moral of the story: never trust a stranger who lures you with 100-dollar bills.

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