DriverX

I hate using the phone. Detest it.

I know I should be joining in with the…

ooh isn’t it awful how nobody talks to each other anymore thanks to technology…

brigade.

But I don’t think it is awful. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy to converse digitally and in person but telephones are the devil’s work. I need visual clues and I need an audit trail.

Uber (and all other good cab services of this ilk) provides that audit trail and then some. On a recent trip which took in four cities in the U.S., we Uber’d (and all other good cab services of this ilk’d) like there was no tomorrow. Each journey was a joy not only in knowing who was picking us up and precisely when (all with the swipe of a screen) but in terms of good conversation from the driver.

Being of the British variety, I learned not only something of our driver (beyond his name and image prior to pick-up), but something of each city I visited that can’t be found in a guide book.

Well that’s your side of matters, but what of the driver?

Well, pretend questioner, guess what. New release DriverX, written and directed by Henry Barrial, gives us a glimpse into our friend in the front-seat and all they endure. A fictional glimpse, granted, but I suspect not wholly inaccurate glimpse.

Starring Better Call Saul’s Patrick Fabian as father of two, husband of one (hey, I just watched a documentary on Polygamy – it’s a thing), employer of no-one ‘Leonard’, we see the former record shop owner dejected and competing with an increasingly high-tech world both in the workplace and the outside world (coincidentally, my last film reviewed, Videoman, honed in on a very similar situation…).

It is therefore ironic that Leonard becomes a self-employed, but beholden to technology (check out the scene when he attempts to contact a Manager at the firm), driver for DriverX.

Patrick Fabian as Leonard, courtesy of Sundance Selects. A Sundance Selects release.

Desperate for money,  Leonard, reluctantly takes to the extreme, cool, dangerous, hilarious, downright dirty nighttime streets of Los Angeles, rubbing shoulders (and sometimes more) with a wide variety of fares/strangers/passengers/nutjobs along the way.

Patrick Fabian as Leonard and Venice Weaver as Miranda. Courtesy of Sundance Selects. A Sundance Selects Release.

The film juxtaposes Leonard’s domestic role as largely house-husband, getting the children up, making them breakfast, with the after-dark encounters in his car (note the correlation between the more extreme the encounters with the quality of the breakfast served up each morning…).

Fabian is perfect in the role, engaging, charismatic, funny and subtle in a performance that allows his largely low-key character to hold its own and ultimately win-out in scenes with the more colourful and outrageous passengers he shares the screen (and the car) with.

I love a film that keeps the premise simple, allowing the characters and dialogue to flourish and shine.

With a concept that is familiar to most, DriverX will make you worry less who’s picking you up, but more which character you always play during what will have been a very long, tedious and frankly quite exhausting production of a shift for your driver.

  • Don’t forget to tip.
    • 98mins
      Released 30 November 2018 (USA)
      Sundance Selects