Nightride – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Stephen Fingleton
Starring: Moe Dunford, Joana Ribeiro, Gerard Jordan, Stephen Rea
Set over the course of one night in real-time, this sees Moe Dunford playing drug dealer Budge who is trying to go straight. But first, he has to pull off one last job, which of course doesn’t go to plan – or it would be a very short movie. Cue him frantically driving around Belfast trying to negotiate with the loan shark he owes money to, locate the thieves who stole his merchandise and calm his increasingly worried girlfriend.
Within minutes of starting this film, I could see the obvious influence of the claustrophobic Tom Hardy thriller Locke, which is set completely in his character’s car as he drives around over the course of the night. Being honest, I actually found that film rather tedious by the end of the movie so thirty minutes into this when Budge is still just driving around taking and making numerous phone calls I found myself zoning out. Dunford is a fantastic actor but it is truly difficult to keep an audience engaged in this scenario.
Thankfully, he does leave the car and there is some actual physical interaction with other characters. Although they are very sparse, these scenes are effective and do break the tedium of the driving scenes. It is actually a shame that the car scenes feel so dragged out as director Fingleton put a lot of effort into shooting them. Everything was shot in real-time and when the character is pulled over and questioned by police officers, they are actually real police seemingly. Kudos to Dunford for staying in character throughout that moment and talking his way out of what could have been a very awkward situation.
I really enjoyed Fingleton’s directorial debut The Survivalist and I can see what he was trying to do here. However, the influences on this movie loom far too large and it is impossible not to draw comparisons although as a filmmaking exercise it is to be commended. While not an original idea they do execute it very well, but the characters are all a bit clichéd and the “just one more deal” story has been done a million times before. It is a skillfully constructed film but not as engaging or groundbreaking as it thinks it is.