END TRIP *** USA 2018 Dir: Aaron Jay Rome. 85 mins
“I have to change my personality for every new person I meet…” Although the climax slides a little into the routine, this well acted, taut contemporary thriller is more complex and thought-provoking than the central scenario might initially suggest. Chummy U-RYDE, app-accessible cab driver Brandon (Aaron Jay Rome), in a relationship with a fiancée of three years, charms a variety of passengers on his late night routes from flirty females keen to rate him five stars to a regular British bloke who seems all too eager to find him on social media. But why does said fiancée (Ashley Lenz) seem shocked to see him when he comes home? The cleverly structured, non-linear script unravels the characters and the compelling dynamic between Brandon and the passenger, Judd (Eric LeBlanc), as we see the cracks appear beneath our hero’s seemingly contented surface. LeBlanc wrote the script with director Aaron Jay Rome, who makes the most of the movie’s own budgetary and geographical limitations. As with certain earlier films about cab drivers, END TRIP vividly captures a sense of 21st century urban alienation with its relatably oppressive nocturnal modern city backdrop.
Review by Steven West