Based on style alone, Nightride is a movie made for fanatics of 2011’s Drive. Imagine a version of Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie where the introductory getaway never ended, and it was a feature-length uncut shot; all while the viewer got to ride shotgun with Ryan Gosling the entire time. Sounds great, right? That’s what I thought too…
In Stephen Fingleton’s Nightride, the viewer can immediately pick up on the issues with the one-take execution as soon as we get in the car with our stoic lead Budge (Moe Dunford). Without slick editing and a different perspective, the film’s atmosphere loses the in-the-moment tension felt by our primary character. Instead, the camera is usually locked-off on the hood of a car, pointed towards Dunford as he broodily drives and mumbles to people on the phone. The callers all sound like they’re helping rehearse lines with Dunford, and the Budge character – while given increasingly stressful motivations – doesn’t have an interesting allure. While the shot list doesn’t offer much variety, the camerawork really is Nightride’s prime asset. The camera moves so smoothly and we hardly notice when it has been tethered to a moving vehicle or when it’s running after someone. Because of the expertise, the one-take gimmick isn’t a distraction.
However, so much of this movie is spent waiting for something to happen with dull results. In fact, the most exciting part of Nightride wasn’t even planned! The police actually pull over Dunford, and the actor who is more than halfway through this exercise is forced to improv his way back on the road. It’s absolutely riveting and speaks to Dunford’s performance capabilities. Otherwise, Fingleton’s ambitious crime caper is a bit of a snooze.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie