Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Fare: Love and Time Loops

This must be a Twilight Zone kind of story, because the characters call for taxis rather than Ubers. This particular yellow cab will not get very far. The cabbie’s customer keeps disappearing after he takes her down a lonesome stretch for twenty minutes or so. Then everything resets. Time sure seems to be looping in D.C. Hamilton’s The Fare, which releases today on VOD.

Harris (don’t call him “Harry”) and Penny (like the coin) keep having the same chit-chat over and over—until he starts to remember. It turns out she always did. Finally, their conversation can advance into deeper territory. Unfortunately, they are unable to find a way to break the cycle, but they are clearly developing serious feelings for each other. Regardless, she still disappears and as soon as Harris resets his meter, they are back to where they started.

Obviously, we can’t say too much about a film like this, because it would be spoilery. However, we can almost guarantee you won’t see the twist coming, even though hints are deviously dropped in the early going. Hamilton and screenwriter-co-lead Brinna Kelly engage in some truly masterful misdirection. On the surface, this is a shrewdly simple-to-stage two-person science fiction film that requires virtually no special effects, but the real story is much more complex.

The Fare also happens to be the best genre romance since maybe Benson & Moorhead’s Spring. Kelly and Gino Anthony Pesi are absolutely terrific together. Their chemistry is truly the key. We really care about them as a couple, which is an even greater trick to pull off in this case, because the film must be so cagey about their back-stories. Yet, their mutual affection deepens organically and never feels forced.

Kelly and Pesi are on-screen together nearly the entire film, but they admirably carry the show two-handed. Nevertheless, the unseen Jason Stuart deserves credit for adding some caustic humor as the voice of the Louie De Palma-esque dispatcher.

There is no doubt The Fare is one of the biggest surprises of the year (in a positive way). It is strange that it didn’t play all the fantastical film festivals, but it is here now, for public consumption. This is a film that can rub shoulders with Somewhere in Time and About Time. Very highly recommended, The Fare is now available on VOD platforms.