RIDE is a cautionary tale aimed at a technology-obsessed society. When James, a ride share driver, picks up the charismatic but manipulative Bruno, the rider talks him into picking up his ...
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RIDE is a cautionary tale aimed at a technology-obsessed society. When James, a ride share driver, picks up the charismatic but manipulative Bruno, the rider talks him into picking up his previous rider Jessica, and a normal night out in LA becomes a psychological war for survival.
More than a few movies have "holes" in their story line, places where the plot breaks down and the audience is no longer willing to suspend it's belief for the sake of entertainment but "Ride" is the cinematic equivalent of an astronomical black hole, that region in space where the gravitational field is so strong that matter cannot escape.
Ostensibly, "Ride" is billed as a dire warning about the perils of ubiquitous ride share services that car owners join in order to drive clients to their destinations for online payments transferred directly to their bank accounts. James (Jessie T. Usher) is one such driver, a wannabe actor living in LA who finds this type of work more appealing than other stereotypical actor jobs like waiting on tables.
One of the perks he likes about driving for a ride share service is the opportunity to meet interesting and attractive men and women; Jessica (Bella Thorne) is all that and more. After engaging James in conversation, she invites him to join her for drinks at the bar where he'd dropped her off but another ride request pops up on his mobile phone and he politely declines. Not one to be brushed off, especially by men, Jessica extends her invitation and tells James to join her after he's finished driving for the evening.
His next ride sharer, Bruno (Will Brill) is a gregarious, although somewhat sketchy client who refuses to give an exact destination but instead asks James to make some unplanned and unreported stops which is a clear violation of the ride share program. He continues to make more unusual requests like asking James to turn off his car lights and wait in dark while he asks a friend if he can spend the night to avoid returning home to his angry wife. Even the loud noise, which sounds like a gun shot, coming from inside the house does not deter James from continuing to wait for his ride sharer. But once he gets back into the car, Bruno convinces James to drive them both back to the bar where he'd dropped off Jessica so all three could drive around LA for a night filled with fun and adventure.
This is where the movie "Ride" begins to fall apart. Bruno asks James to give him the car keys while he goes inside to pick up Jessica, reassuring him that the ride service would charged his credit card if he stole the car. Presumably, all ride share clients have credit card limits so high that a driver could recover the cost of his car if his client drove off into the night but even if this was true, would any car owner willing hand over his car keys to a total stranger then disappear out of sight?
The black hole grows even larger and deeper as the movie progresses. Bruno is now driving the car and James and Jessica are his passengers. He pulls out a magnum 44 revolver and flashes it around, playfully pointing it at both Jessica and James. Then he stops in front of a liquor store, orders James to go inside to commit a robbery, and hands him the loaded gun. James takes the revolver but instead of robbing the store, orders the obviously unstable stranger to get out of the car but Bruno overpowers the would be actor, regains control of the situation, and still demands that his crazy plan be carried out. Once again, James is handed the loaded revolver but this time, inexplicably, chooses to obey and walks into the liquor store to confront the store clerk. A standoff occurs when the clerk notices the large magnum and reaches under the counter for his own gun. However, only one harmless shot is fired and .James returns to the car with a bottle of expensive liquor and a handful of cash.
There is no reasonable explanation for this entire scene. Why would a captor give his hostage a fully loaded magnum 44 revolver? And why wouldn't the hostage, now holding the most powerful handgun in the world, simply get out of the car, turn around, and order his captor to surrender?
There is only one reason to continue watching "Ride" at this point, the vain hope that there is some bizarre plot twist at the end of the movie. But the story climaxes with a predictable car crash, a childlike attempt at deception, and a plot that is wrapped up with a few weak lines of dialogue.
All three actors, Usher, Thorne, and Brill turn in convincing performances as off beat characters who enjoy the night life and meet each other through ride share technology and director Jeremy Ungar does a commendable job maintaining the pace of the movie until it's underwhelming climax. Even the music and cinematography enhance the street scenes of LA where driving is as much a way of life as walking is to the denizens of New York City.
Nevertheless, "Ride" is a cinematic black hole that deserves the lowest possible IMDB rating and should be a top contender for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture.
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