One time loop, one never-ending taxi drive, and surely one absolutely massive fare. A time-bending, noir sci-fi with heart, The Fare is cruising into a safe position as one of the most intriguing indie films this year. 

After a series of pulsating overhead shots that set both our scene and peculiar atmosphere for this feature, we’re brought back to Earth into our rickety setting – an old styled American taxi. Harris (Gino Anthony Pesi) is driving along a long, dusty track, flicking between radio stations. One channel debates the existence of aliens among us, the other rants about the patriarchy with reference to the Persephone, and the third is a raunchy discussion about the female orgasm. Harris’ peaking interest is interrupted by his brash boss, who asks about his distance from the next pick up. Brushing his boss off with a sarcastic retort, Harris turns his last corner to see Penny (Brinna Kelly), a beautiful and elegantly dressed woman, who greets Harris with a coy smile and an exchange of greetings that run off so smoothly, it’s like their meeting was designed by the God’s. Harris drives Penny back along the dusty track, their matching charisma filling the small cab. They share personal stories, flirtations, all seems to be going smoothly until an approaching storm rumbles into view. With a sudden, crashing crack of thunder, Penny disappears entirely from the cab. Harris is initially shocked and confused but with the barking orders of his boss crackling through the radio, he continues on his way. 

Harris is driving along a long, dusty track, flicking between radio stations. One channel debates the existence of aliens among us, the other rants abou- no, you’ve not lost your place in this article. It would appear that time is repeating for Harris and Penny, as they go through the same opening scene again and again and again. With each repeat there are small changes, including one where their hands touch, which seems to spark a memory in Harris, leading to his revelation that they have done this exact journey hundreds of times before. Trapped in a time loop or an alien experiment, it’s down to Harris and Penny to figure out what’s happening to them, how they escape and whether or not they want to escape. 

The Fare plays about with its cinematography, blending black and white into colour dependent on our character’s mental state and situational clarification. With quip heavy dialogue that rallies to and fro, there’s a definite old-Hollywood aesthetic to this feature. When it comes to the suggestion of sci-fi elements, even these are played out like old Hollywood sci-fi classics, with bright lights and shadowy figures only ever hinting at something unusual. 

Characters Harris and Penny carry the majority of this film and thankfully their chemistry is brilliant. Even upon first meeting there is a comfortable undercurrent as if they had known each other for years, which, we soon discover, they have. Once Harris’ memories of their encounters start to return, their familial subtext becomes conscious and their warmth for one another grows to a heated passion. The audience is allowed to bathe in the glow of their relationship and soon even we are left hoping they can remain in this pocket of time together forever. 

Like all great sci-fi mysteries, this feature has a classic twist, with a revelation that builds and is actually supported by small clues hidden within each repeating cycle. The construction of this plot is satisfying, intelligent and earned. As this month is Noir-vember, this indie-feature is a welcomed modern addition to the month

Dir: D.C. Hamilton

Scr: Brinna Kelly

Cast: Gino Anthony Pesi, Brinna Kelly

Prd: D.C Hamilton, Brinna Kelly, Gino Anthony Pesi, Kristin Starns

DoP: Josh Harrison

Music: Torin Borrowdale

Country: USA

Year: 2019

Run time: 82 Mins

The Fare is available on Blu-ray and VOD now

By Michaela Barton

Glasgow based freelancer. Only hobby is Netflix so might as well make a career out of watching stuff. @MichaelaBarton_