By Dave B.
In The Fare (2019) a cab driver on a desolate desert road picks up a lone woman. After a few minutes of conversation, she inexplicably vanishes. Then time seemingly resets and the cab driver repeats the same sequence of events, with no memory of what has previously occurred. Eventually the cabbie, Harris, begins to remember earlier versions of the time loop. As he works with his passenger, Penny, on finding a way out of the loop, they begin to form a close bond. But all is not as it seems. Penny has a secret that lies at the root of Harris’ predicament.
I have mixed feelings about The Fare. Some aspects of it are quite good. The central mystery at the heart of the movie is definitely engaging. It’s interesting enough to keep viewers watching, but not so absorbing as to cause us to overlook the developing relationship between Harris and Penny. Because most of the movie takes place in a taxi cab, it’s necessary that the film be strong in both plot and character development and The Fare generally succeeds at both of these. Science-Fiction/Mystery/Romance is not a genre mashup that I usually watch, but when I do, I often get bored because those movies often have an overreliance on predictable tropes and two-dimensional characters. The Fare does not have these problems.
But…the romance and tragedy at the root of The Fare are soooo romantic and soooo tragic, that they failed to connect with me. To my mind, there’s a limit on how “star-crossed” star-crossed lovers can be without the romance feeling either farcical, overly-sappy, or both. The Fare surpasses that limit. Good performances, decent dialogue, an engaging mystery…none of those things made up for the fact instead of the movie making me feel like my heartstrings were being pulled, it instead made me feel as if I were being emotionally manipulated.
Ultimately, the question boils down to whether or not I recommend The Fare. And the answer is “yes”, although it’s more of a tepid recommendation than a resounding one. I really enjoyed the first 90% of the film. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I didn’t overly mind the final 10% of it either. But there’s a lack of subtlety and nuance near the end of the film that is off-putting. As a brief diversion, The Fare is fine. But it stumbles across the finish line instead of crossing it triumphantly, which is more disappointing than it would have been if the film had been a failure throughout.
Service: Currently on Amazon Prime
Runtime: 82 Minutes
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.