Night Fare full movie review - A Slasher and So Much More
If Batman mated with the truck from Stephen Spielberg's Duel (don't tell me that isn't physically possible, the man can beat Superman, he could figure it out) nine months later one of them would give birth to something that looked like Night Fare.
At first blush, Night Fare is a movie about an evil car, a vengeful taxi hungry for its fare. But as the story unfolds it reveals new and surprising layers of complexity.
Two friends meet in Paris two years after a mysterious event forced one of them to go on the run from the law. They celebrate their reunion with a night of partying and revelry, and when the party's over they take a taxi home. But at the last minute they stiff the taxi driver and make a run for it. It's a simple prank, a fleeting moment of drunken foolishness, but the taxi and its mysterious driver proceed to hound them through the streets of Paris, running them down side roads and back alleys, seemingly out for revenge over the lost toll.
But slowly it becomes clear things are not so simple. The taxi and its driver aren't just out for payback, and the toll the two men owe is far higher than the fare for the cab ride.
Night Fare is not a subtle movie. Our first glimpse of the taxi draped under a blood red silk cloth is accompanied by a driving synthetic soundtrack, and when the mysterious driver pulls away he reveals a man lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. "Be afraid of this car" the movie tells us.
And so when we see that same car roll up to pick up our protagonists we already know they're in for trouble.
night-fare-1-e1444236412846From that moment the tension never really lets up. The taxi and its driver come after the two men with an unstoppable, almost supernatural, force. As the night goes on and every safe haven the men turn to is eliminated, they're forced to face a moment they thought they had left behind for ever.
Night Fare is a cool movie, and the driver is a great antagonist. He's nearly always shrouded in shadow, a hulking silhouette that seems more like an avenging angel than a flesh and blood man. He may be a bad guy, but all of the people he targets (including our protagonists) are worse. So when he rips through a room full of gangsters with a katana, we start to side with him. And in time the movie rewards us for that instinct.
There's a moment at the end of Night Fare seemed certain to ruin the movie. It is a scene of pure exposition, telling us exactly what the taxi driver is about, where he came from, what his motives are. And it's told with a cartoon.
It shouldn't work. It breaks all the rules. When you have a cool unstoppable vigilante with an evil car, giving every single detail of his back story in an info-dump right at the end of the movie ought to be the worst possible thing you could do.
But somehow it works. It works because it leads into something else, something that ties everything together in a way that couldn't have been possible without it.
Night Fare starts out like a slasher flick with a car in the role of the slasher, but it slowly turns into something else: A story of redemption.
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