Imagine the worst possible cab ride of your life and then take it to the next level by going weird with it. That’s what Fare is. This nifty 75-minute thriller from writer/director/star Thomas Torrey takes a single-location concept and allows for unexpected turns that build into a radical third act that pushes the nature of relationships to a true zenith of filmmaking imagination.
Torrey stars as Eric, an Uber driver getting through a long shift. He entertains conversations with his passengers as the day goes by. Some are more willing to talk than others. Eric presents some basic facts about himself, but the nature of these minor events take different form, depending on the passengers. That is never more apparent than when he discusses the nature of love with a foreigner (Pat Dortch), but the true test actually comes when Eric picks up a stranger with a deep connection to him.
I am not aware how open the filmmakers are with what the first big twist is in this film is and whether or not that’s the hook they want to sell Fare on, but the nature of Eric’s relationship with his main passenger is not a hard one to figure out. The intrigue comes from seeing how these two characters dance around their conversation, especially given that one participant knows more than the other. It is always fun to call various thrillers Hitchcock-ian, but as the viewer, we definitely know a bomb is under the table, so-to-speak.
The notable filmmaking aspect for Fare is its single-location approach. The entire film takes place inside Eric’s SUV. All camera angles provide a view of what is inside the car, which leads to a lot of creative framing and a lot of dialogue to help keep up interest in all that is going on. Given the quick pace of the film and the effective tension that builds throughout (good score work here too) it was not hard to stay alert during the film, but plenty of credit goes to Torrey and his cinematographer (R.C. Walker) for continually finding a way to keep this film visually interesting.
The approach is especially effective when thinking about the shift in the story, which is easily emblemized by the move from day to night. As Eric and his main passenger Patrick (J.R. Adduci) talk, the mood shifts and a whole new dynamic is created. This is nothing compared to the final act though.
Without going into it, Fare plays a hand on the viewer that is totally unexpected and resolved in a way that will surely frustrate some audiences. Perhaps a small independent movie like this and the way the film builds itself up cold have been a clue regarding where things could go, but even with some quibbles concerning the logic of certain character actions, I know I was incredibly tense as the finale took shape.
A weaker film may come off as silly, given what takes place and how it delivers on this turn, but thanks to strong performances and writing from Torrey and his team, Fare manages to deliver. The ambitious move to keep it all contained inside one vehicle was certainly a unique choice and it easily helps to raise tension and present what takes place in an effective manner. Good work all around in a film had some real surprises in it.