film reel image

film reel image

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ryde 2017 * * Stars


2017's Ryde is a "ride" worth taking maybe once (and only once), to see how neo-noir and grisly sadism can push that almighty envelope. It's like 2004's Collateral and Taxi Driver combined forces, but forgot that ample character development and/or diegesis actually mattered. I mean what was director Brian Frank Visciglia thinking, that he could put out an 84-minute film about ride sharing services and it wouldn't come off as hollow as an empty toothpaste tube? "Oh you missed the turn". Um, that's not all Ryde misses.

Distributed by Gravitas Ventures and shot in what feels like a week or two in good old Los Angeles, Ryde chronicles Paul (played with foul glint by David Wachs) as a psychopath who poses as a rideshare driver. His purpose (or lack of purpose)? To get his kill on via passengers who come off as rude, weak, or I guess, vulnerable. That's it folks, that's your movie, a sort of stylized snippet that would rather beget violence for the sake of violence instead of actually giving the viewer something of merit to gnaw on. I mean you could put any known actor in the lead role instead Wachs, be it Ryan Gosling or Tom Cruise or even Bobby De Niro. The result would be the same because Ryde's script by three writers (you heard me) doesn't let the audience member in, it just leaves them cold and outlying, like a passed out passenger (pun intended).

All in all, if Ryde were to provide any impact, it would be its effective look of LA at night, all darkened and slick and gleamed and well, skin-deep. And then there's the Jaws effect, where you fear ever getting in the water again or in Ryde's case, ever getting into a car with an Uber driver who may or may not be an evil slaughterer. Other than that, Ryde just feels like an exercise in wayward manner, remorseless and without any accord. It could just easily be titled Ryde and Die.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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