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The taxi has long been a standby for movies as a vehicle, if you’ll pardon the wording, for carrying characters through parts of a story, a movable setting that provides an interesting environment for conflicts, romance, and more, sometimes involving the driver themselves. That said, it’s really been only a matter of time before services like Lyft and Uber begin to seep into the fold. With Fare, we get just that, though it is only the mechanism for how this compelling story moves forward, a uniquely-crafted examination of fidelity and commitment.
Eric (Thomas Torrey) works in real estate by day, but the market’s dry and he needs the money, so drives at night, though we soon learn it’s also to get out of the house. Always on the move, he spends a good portion of the beginning with random passengers, with whom sometimes he engages while with others remaining a silent observer. They cover the gambit of personalities, and during it all, we get a sense of who Eric is, a bit of his dreams and why he drives. At one point, he picks up what appears to be a businessman he seems to recognize, a man named Patrick (J.R. Adduci), who starts his lift with a brief phone call to a woman.
We know that Eric is married, his wife Audrey (Katherine Drew) a partner of sorts in real estate. We discover they are in a rut, that part of the reason he works at night is to give themselves some space and he’s unsure what he should do about it. He suspects she is cheating on him, having seen a man coming and going from the house (something we might have seen reaction to at the start of the film), yet he’s never done anything about it. That man is Patrick, and now he’s in for a real ride as Eric decides this fare is in for a long night. But what Eric doesn’t know, is that the long night itself has a ride planned for him.
Written and directed by Torrey, who also stars, Fare, with its clever double meaning title, is an interesting metamorphosis that begins as a kind of episode of Taxicab Confessions before evolving into a dark thriller as Eric seizes the moment and lets it spiral out of control before the situation becomes something altogether different. Filmed almost entirely within a moving car, the claustrophobic setting serves like a tinderbox as it moves forward while Torrey ramps up the tension and our expectations, which are soon rerouted. Not an action film by any definition, it is conversationally-driven about a man in crisis and the choices he makes in the name of love.
One of those conversations reveals itself to have more meaning than first implied, one where an early fare, a foreigner played by Pat Dortch–who rides up front–has a rather interesting approach to the concept of monogamy and marriage. He espouses that love is not binding and has nothing to do with being married or having happiness. It tests Eric’s thinking and we discover, has affect in his head, becoming the tent pole for the final act.
That act is decidedly jarring and as the last shot, one outside of the car, suggests, seeped in possible metaphor where the foreigner comes back into play. It would be a disservice to give any details about what happens of course, but the message is remarkably clear while remaining tantalizingly ambiguous and works surprisingly well. Torrey manages to flip what would seem to be a talky confrontation film and organically let it become a darkly symbolic allegory on love itself.
Fare is a well-made and strongly-performed film that is going to be decisive but more so, should inspire conversations and debate. Avoiding clichés to carry a familiar message, it tasks us with considering what we are seeing and understand more about the reactions of the characters rather than what is happening to them. An ambitious idea that makes this something different. That alone says a lot.
Movie description: Fare is a 2017 drama/thriller about ride-share driver who has the secret lover of his wife riding in the back seat.
Director(s): Thomas Torrey
Actor(s): Thomas Torrey, Katherine Drew, J.R. Adduci
Genre: Drama, Thriller