I've got to be honest.
Sometimes, as a film journalist, you just plain get distracted. While you may think it's all glamour and fun, the truth is that most of us, especially those of us who specialize in the indie world, get a seemingly relentless parade of indie submissions from which we can never seemingly catch up. There are times it feels like film reviews are my life and, quite honestly, it gets a bit overwhelming.
I sit here, faithfully, reviewing films every single chance I get while trying to handle life and love and bills and the work that, at least for now, pays the bills. So, yeah. Sometimes, we get distracted while sitting here looking at my larger than life HD monitor watching a film.
But then, there are those films from which there is no escape. They grab hold of us early on and they never let us go.
"Screw the bills," I think to myself. "I need to watch this film."
Fare, a 75-minute feature film written, directed by and starring Thomas Torrey, is such a film.
Set for its world premiere on April 26th at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Fare is a gripping and anxiety inducing cinematic wonderland starring Torrey as Eric, a ride-share cab driver with a struggling "real" gig in real estate and a distracted spouse (Katherine Drew) whose continued success in real estate has raised the marital tensions and possibly led her into the arms of another man. For his part, Eric's lengthy journeys in his cab seem as much about escape as they do about maintaining the income. He makes small talk with anyone who will listen, small talk that turns to much bigger talk when a mysterious foreigner (Pat Dortch) oddly joins him in the front seat and begins spouting the marital philosophies of someone named Wormwood.
It's kind of weird even by the fairly loose standards for weird of a cab driver.
It's Eric's next fare, however, that gives Fare ever increasing tension and emotional force. When the smooth talkin' Patrick (J.R. Adduci) enters Eric's cab, even before a word is spoken it's obvious that we're in for quite the ride. Could Patrick be the source of all Eric's troubles?
Convinced that Patrick is the man with whom his wife is having an affair and fresh from having rather fierce marital philosophies planted in his mind, Eric puts in motion a journey that threatens the life of everyone who enters the cab.
Filmed over the course of three days and entirely within the confines of a moving vehicle, Fare is a tautly written and suspenseful film that may bring to mind the recent film Locke yet is different in a myriad of ways. Fare, as it begins to spiral, becomes an increasingly different film than what we expect with elements of sci-fi woven into the thriller and even spiritual elements that create a layer of substance that will leave you thinking and processing amidst the film's breathless moments.
As Eric, Torrey embodies the vulnerability of an increasingly fractured man whose behavior is impulsive and unpredictable. While Fare very much centers around Torrey's performance, it couldn't possibly work without Dortch's eerily assured performance, Adduci's uncomfortably detached turn as Patrick and Katherine Drew's finely nuanced take on Audrey. The truth is that Fare is both a character-driven and ensemble piece of cinema.
R.C. Walker's lensing is remarkable in weaving together intimacy and almost Twilight Zone styled elements. Babe Elliott Baker contributes special effects that transcend the film's indie status, while Torrey himself edits the film precisely to maximize emotional and suspense impact.
Fare is the kind of film that lingers in your psyche long after you've watched it, your brain trying to figure out its different elements and your heart lingering in the emotional space with these characters. If you're around Newport Beach, be sure to catch the film's world premiere if you get a chance and watch for it at a festival near you.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic