The meaning of the film The Fare – the age of the groundhog for the carrier. David Hamilton’s 2018’s The Fare feels like another interpretation of Groundhog Day at first. In fact, the picture turns out to be a mixture of genres: fantasy, melodrama and detective story, and the viewer does not immediately guess about belonging to the latter. The film is shot according to the principle of nesting dolls – everything is not as it seems at first glance, one layer is followed by another, which pleasantly surprises and gives pleasure when viewing.
A deserted road, night, impending bad weather, the crackle of a walkie-talkie and a taxi driver in a hurry to pick up a client. This is almost the entire entourage of the film, no need to wait for drive and juicy scenery. Black-and-white shooting is the first intrigue of the picture: how long will it last and what does this decision of the director mean?
Harry’s driver, who prefers to be called Harris, is introduced to a passenger driving to the corner of Elm and River Drive: “A penny is like a coin.” As a result of the conversation, it turns out that Penny teaches striptease dance, and Harris prefers drinking alone. The ensuing warm conversation is interrupted by a thunderstorm, the electricity in the car disappears along with the passenger. The dispatcher advises the dumbfounded Harry to reset the counter and return.
The second loop of the plot makes it clear to the audience that Harry is in a time loop: the radio plays a sequence of the same three programs as the first time. About alien experiments. About great women and their right to be angry – on the example of the kidnapped Persephone and Elena the Beautiful. About the controversial importance of the big O in women and the indisputable need for intimacy.
Harry does not realize himself in the loop and again picks up a woman on the road, at the request of which he talks about his hobbies in his youth. A crash of thunder and a sudden crash of the car on some obstacle interrupt his question about the name of the passenger, which he still did not recognize. Penny hits her head on the cab’s partition, Harry grabs her hand in fear, and the film takes on color for the first time as he asks, “Is everything all right, Penny?”
“I didn’t introduce myself! You just remembered me. Remember me this time, Harry!” The passenger is missing again. The dispatcher’s advice to reset the counter (the moment of a kind of reboot) again sends Harris on the night road for the client and makes the film black and white.
Touching the client’s hand during the accident on the second orbit was not in vain. On the third trip, the memory of the previous two gradually returns to Harry, as does the color that serves as an indicator of her condition.
“You didn’t remember anything, but I didn’t forget anything!” It turns out that Penny got into a taxi not three, but at least a hundred times – the second layer of the plot is revealed. Harry and the viewer are convinced of the existence of a time loop, Harris enthusiastically sorts out options for how to break out of it.
Within a few turns, the friendship between Harris and Penny, who turned out to be not a dance teacher, but a gardener, grows stronger. “It’s like being trapped. Cold and cruel, work comes first,” the woman talks about her husband, and Harry about his lost love.
The passionate rapprochement between Penny and Harris is inevitable, the elements of melodrama are clear and loud in Harry’s words: “I can’t lose you. What if we’re destined to be here together?” Harry’s refusal to look for a way to break the repeating cycle of events out of fear of losing a loved one highlights the enduring value of true feelings. Only love matters, everything else is unimportant, this is the meaning of the film, which will not change on subsequent layers.
Insight into the present and memories of the past
“Where did you get that scar on your head?” – Hugging Penny, Harris notices the consequences of the accident and realizes that there is no time loop. The scene is interrupted by a clap of thunder, Penny disappears with a request not to drink water. Harris pours water from the can onto the road, and events take a swift turn.
A grim, wrinkled individual gets into the car and gives the same address as Penny: the corner of Elm and River Drive. While Harris is driving him, all the memories of the lost love come back to him, in which the viewer recognizes Penny. A clear day and starry night, a blooming garden and Penny’s light dresses create an atmosphere of love and happiness, for the first time taking the viewer beyond the boundaries of the night road and bad weather. The theme of love sounds again, which can be doomed from the very beginning, but it will not become smaller from this.
The third layer unfolds rapidly, and the viewer guesses the essence, seeing how the old man pays Harris with a gold coin.
“You are the only worthwhile thing in my life”
There was more than enough gold in the taxi. Harris is the carrier of Death to the realm of the dead, who is paid by souls for delivery, and Penny is the soul collector’s wife.
Hades complains to Harry that the arranged relationship isn’t working and tells how Penny finds a new way to escape to the world of the living every year. In one of these voyages, she and Harris loved each other, after Penny’s return to the realm of the dead, Harry had an accident and was hired by Hades. Hades emphasizes that he erased the memory of the past, but Persephone herself put the water of oblivion into the car, in order to lighten Harry’s burden.
The return of Persephone to the realm of the dead is possible only with the help of a carrier, these annual trips are shown to the viewer during the film.
Harris begins to work without the water of oblivion and even finds pleasure in it, agreeing with the arguments of Hades about the nobility of their mission. Now Harry remembers every passenger.
When Penny once again returns from the world of the living, Harris convinces her that he is happy and does not need blissful unconsciousness: “Remembering you is my choice. You are the only worthwhile thing in my life. Many people go through life without finding meaning. It is not worth wasting the annual 20 minutes of a joint trip on suffering. Harry’s doctrine of rejoicing in the time that was, and those minutes that are, is a practical and useful advice to everyone.
Gino Anthony Pesi and Brynna Kelly, who played the leading roles, convincingly proved that a spectacular picture does not require multimillion-dollar investments. Excellent directing and brilliant acting make the film unforgettable.