Review by Dan Skip Allen
Films made with one shot in real-time are rare in Hollywood or anywhere else, for that matter. Locke starring Tom Hardy, Birdman from Alejandro G. Inarritu, and 1917 from Sam Mendez are highly acclaimed films that had the look and feel of a single camera shot in real-time. Nightride from Stephen Fingleton is another film that has this style of filmmaking.
Budge (Moe Dunford) is a small-time drug dealer trying to pull off one last deal before going straight. When the deal goes drastically wrong, he tries to finagle his way into making the deal work another way. The people he's dealing with are very dangerous, and he's racing against the clock. This is a life and death situation he's dealing with.
The film takes place in Ireland, and the main character is in his car the majority of the film. Moe Dunford (Rosie, The Dig, Knuckledust), an Irish actor, is predominantly a television star but has done some films in his short career. Whereas he's worked with different-sized casts in the past, he is basically on his own this time out.
Dunford does an admirable job with the focus on him most of the time throughout the film. He has to keep the audience engaged throughout. The filmmaker uses phone calls, very similar to Locke, to keep the drama moving forward. Various characters besides the lead are used, such as the loan shark, his henchman, a personal friend of the lead character, and the girlfriend of the main character. The entire cast all help make this film exciting and thrilling.
The film also uses music to ramp up the tension, which keeps it moving forward and the audience completely engaged. Heart-pounding rock ann roll and a pulse-pounding score by Phil Kieren are played during the film's one hour and thirty-two-minute running time. The music plays a big part in the film's overall feel. It's like a character in the movie in some ways.
Because the film is primarily shot in one location, the protagonist's car, it has an interesting look to it. Also shot at night, this helps with the cinematography. The lights of the street lamps and vehicles passing by create a cool look to the film. Night lighting isn't easy, especially on a small budget like this film had. It's a little indie film set in Ireland, and the scale shows. Even though it's a small film, it has very good production value as far as how it's shot and the competition of the angles and so forth.
Nightride is a thrilling and tension-filled hour and a half. It has fantastic visuals and music that make the film stand out, and the lead actor Dunford does a very good job of keeping the audience engaged throughout. His ability to command the camera's attention throughout the film is excellent. His story is the driving force of the film. The story and filmmaking are pretty good, considering the small scale and budget. It is worth the time to spend with these characters.
Nightride hits theaters and VOD on March 4.