With so many brilliantly told, gut-wrenchingly provocative movies out there, sometimes it’s fun to just sit back and laugh at the antics of purely ordinary people, just trying to get by.
Donovan Cook’s Rideshare is about some average folks who respond to an ad seeking automobile operators. The job requested is for three people to drive a certain car from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., where the owner of the vehicle will meet them. The chosen three are each given Apple iPhone 4 cell phones so they can video their cross-country experience.
The drivers range in age and eccentricity. The youngest, and the most obviously quirky of the three, is a very cute, Japanese student who goes by the name, Lemonade (Narisa Suzuki). She wears very theatrical, 1960s style outfits, complete with feathers, and stiletto heels.
Darlene (Susan Isaacs) is a middle-aged woman from the mid-west, with the toughened exterior of one who’s suffered. This she tries to hide, by being gushingly obliging to everyone she meets.
Dr. Abe (Ryan Fox) is a volatile and cynical psychiatrist whose medical license was pulled many years ago. We later learn that after one of Dr. Abe’s patients committed suicide, his personality abruptly changes for the worst, thereby causing his wife and child to leave him, and move to Washington. The primary reason that the doctor applies for the position of driver is so he can attend his long lost daughter’s 7th birthday party.
Although Rideshare moves very quickly, and is very relatable on many levels, it is essentially a character-driven movie, with not much in the way of physical creativity or subtle moments in the empty spaces between conversations. Also, there are a couple of segments that go from dark to darker, so that seeing any type of detail in the shadows or in faces becomes difficult.
One thing that should be highly commended, and may explain the murkiness discussed, is that Rideshare is filmed entirely with cell phones. This is becoming more and more commonplace in experimental shorts, but not so much in feature films. No doubt, as smartphone-video-cameras become more and more technologically savvy, movie footage will improve.
All in all, Rideshare is a feel-good movie, with much in the way of life’s lessons, and seeing beneath the façades most people tend to create. There is also a poignantly comical, surprise ending that most viewers will not see coming.
One thing’s for sure at this particularly erratic time in history, films like Rideshare are definitely the ideal escape from our fears and hostilities.
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