Nightride (2022) – Film Review
Directed by Stephen Fingleton.
With Moe Dunford, Joana Ribeiro, Gerard Jordan, Ciaran Flynn, John Travers and Stephen Rea.
Night walk is a real-time thriller about a drug dealer trying to land one last job to cut to the chase.
There’s no denying that you’ve seen the plot for Night walk at least 100 times before. Directed by Stephen Fingleton and written by Ben Conway, the film centers on drug dealer Budge (Moe Dunford from the recently released film Chainsaw Massacre direct sequel, here get a chance to show the range of body language and increasing intensity) which assures his girlfriend Sophia (for some reason the screening link didn’t come with the end credits so I don’t know not if that’s the correct spelling of his name, but Joana Ribeiro is playing it) that after this last deal he got out of the drug business and is going to start a body shop with his money for their future.
The twist is that Night walk is also a tense, one-take film (there seems to be some hidden cuts at times, though I can’t say for sure, but I can say it’s impressive regardless) similar in execution to the German stunner of the last decade Victoria. For approximately 90 minutes, Budge cannot retrieve the van full of drugs he has been tasked with handling and delivering to his boss as he realizes he is being followed, prompting him to spend several calls and arrange a new plan on the fly for pickup and delivery. And though he does everything he can to keep the love of his life away from danger, it involves an associate who knows nothing of his criminal career but suspects his friend wanted to live a little dangerously.
There are various complications in this mission, many of which leave Budge to search for new alternatives for the finish, whether it’s looking for a new buyer and, of course, locating and finding a way to get his hands on the Van. The film never once deviates from his point of view, rarely leaving the rear view mirror of his car. When it does, it’s usually for a noteworthy slice of homemade violence, like a home invasion tracked from outside walls and windows.
Despite the difficult business of one-shot filmmaking, there’s still a generic vibe to much of night walk, with villains lacking compelling motivation. The first half is mostly a series of mildly engaging phone calls establishing different characters without much visually beyond its gimmicky. That said, we are far from the unique quality of Victoria. However, Moe Dunford’s performance is full of rushed urgency, intimidating stares and gritty facial expressions that are enough to keep you engaged. And once the story begins to endanger various loved ones, the suspense is high.
Night walk is also aware that much of this is a road traveled many times over, so he’s also not afraid to throw in a few fun lines in his one-take tension. It’s a confident and skillfully crafted minimalist crime thriller. As far as midnight cinematic rides go, this one is well worth taking.
Scintillating Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]