For the most part, the life of an Uber driver seems a little boring, but when something eventful happens, that interesting moment more than makes up for all the moments you spend sitting around waiting for a rider to summon your service. 9 RIDES gives you a peek into one Uber driver’s (Dorian Missick) shift as he goes around picking up riders on New Year’s Eve. What seems like a modern carbon copy of Taxi Driver is more of a modern-day continuation of the story and lifestyle of a driver.. without any of the psychosis.
There’s a tone and feel about 9 Rides that makes it seem like you’re watching something you’re not supposed to be watching. It’s voyeuristic and — dare I say — a little naughty. Considering that the film was shot entirely on an iPhone 6S, this may have very well been the intent of director and writer, Matthew A. Cherry.
There’s a light grit to the film which makes it cinematically imperfect, which, again adds more to the movie’s “hidden camera” tone. And the premise alone gives way to an eccentric cast of characters that come in and out of the driver’s life (two of them played by Xosha Roquemore of The Mindy Project and Aasha Davis of Friday Night Lights). The film includes the kinds of Uber riders you would expect like the obnoxious drunken group of young twentysomethings — who end up getting the driver in some trouble. Then there’s the fighting couple that escalates to the point where you have no choice but to step in. And finally there’s the flirty passenger that leads to something more than you expected.
All the while, the driver is dealing with his own personal relationship issues. Throughout the movie, he talks to his girlfriend and they are obviously having some trouble. It gives us a deeper look into the driver’s life and gives us somewhat of an emotional connection to him. That’s nice and all, but we’re here to see the crazy kind of people that an Uber driver has to deal with on a nightly basis.
The film almost plays out like a docuseries in the vein of Taxi Cab Confessions but doesn’t go overboard with what could happen on a typical night for an Uber driver. It could have easily gone 100 percent bonkers and extremely smutty, but it keeps things grounded and realistic. It doesn’t bore us with the mundane. Instead keeps us interested and waiting in anticipation in what kind of person he’s going to pick up next.
The movie parallels Taxi Driver only in the fact that they both involve guys whose job is to drive around the city and pick people up. The comparisons pretty much stop there. The two may be cut from the same cloth, but 9 Rides is less volatile and lot quieter which makes it a solid and genuine indie pic.
Score: 3 out of 5
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Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer