“Trying to Capture a Moment,” a review of “Ride” by Nathan H. Box
Recommendation: 2/5 Stars, SKIP
Director: Jeremy Ungar, Writer: Jeremy Ungar, Starring: Bella Thorne, Jessie T. Usher, Will Brill
Plot: “RIDE is a cautionary tale aimed at a technology-obsessed society. When James, an Uber driver, and his passenger, Jessica, pick up the charismatic but manipulative Bruno, a normal night out in LA becomes a psychological war for survival.” -IMDB
Review: For my ninth film of the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival, I set my sights on a film that started as a love letter to Los Angeles but turned into something much more.
In many ways, “Ride” reminded me of the films “Collateral” and “Phone Booth.” Much like those movies, the action and most of the dialogue in this film is focused on a single location. For this movie, that focus is all on a rideshare driver, the girl who almost got away, and someone he should have never picked up. What develops from here is supposed to be a cautionary tale about the trust we give through our phones to huge corporations and the push and pull between safety/convenience.
While the thesis is understood, it is never fully realized. Instead, we are treated to forced conversations, impractical plots twists, long draughts of action, and a turn we can see from a mile away. Unlike “Collateral” or “Phone Booth,” “Ride” fails to keep the level of drama elevated. Instead, it gives way to less than stellar writing, twists and turns you don’t feel invested in, a villain, who does little to make his point known, and a less than satisfactory ending sequence.
“Ride” attempts to capture a social moment in time and fails. Are we not supposed to use ridesharing apps? Should we get off of social? Are we to disconnect from it all? Bond villains always tell us what they are trying to accomplish. I don’t know why the villain here couldn’t do the same. The thesis is not lost on me. It is the story that is ill-conceived. For that, I recommend you skip this one.
Be good to each other,
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