REVIEW: Night Drive (2019)

dir. Brad Baruh & Meghan Leon

It’s Christmas time and ride share driver Russell (AJ Bowen of You’re Next fame) is about to have a night to remember when his latest fare, Charlotte (Sophie Dalah), turns out to be more than your average passenger. Causing chaos wherever she goes – from collecting a mystery package at an ex-boyfriend’s to a hit-and-run – Charlotte proves she’s abundantly capable of thriving under-pressure.

Bowen and Dahal’s chemistry is irresistible, their performances naturalistic, grounded and adding a real depth to the whip-smart script. Both assuredly traverse the opening act’s character drama before veering wildly into dark comedy – with some brutal and bonkers set-pieces – and finally continuing to an out-of-nowhere destination.

For as Russell and Charlotte’s bond grows, finding comradery through perpetual mishaps, a seismic revelation sweeps the rug from under the audience and Night Drive becomes something entirely different, crescendoing into an altogether more transcendent movie.

Directed with assured confidence by Baruh and Leon, the film takes a while to up the ante but when it does it delivers big time. There’s a gleefully nasty streak that permeates the second act, and it’s a credit to their filmmaking prowess that the finale legitimately side-swipes: much like the ill-fated hit-and-run, you never see it coming.

A great trip from start to finish, Night Drive should become a festive favourite for years to come.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brad Hanson

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