Cab drivers pick up all sorts of people going to various destinations: a party, the airport, or to meet up with friends. Those brief interactions are usually just that—short moments of time shared by the passenger and driver making small talk or staring out the window. Nothing too memorable.
But in the movie FARE, written and directed by local filmmaker Thomas Torrey, the protagonist Eric, a cab driver, finds himself transporting a passenger that takes up his entire evening—and changes the course of his life.
Last year the film won multiple awards throughout the festival circuit, including the Audience Award at the Charlotte Film festival. This week FARE will be introduced to a whole new audience when it’s released on all demand platforms including iTunes and Amazon.
Before we get too far into this drive, it should be noted that the film FARE—is spelled F-A-R-E as in cab fare, which makes sense since the movie takes place in a moving car.
Thomas Torrey wrote, directed, and played Eric, the film’s main character. He’s an unsuccessful realtor turned cab driver to supplement his income. Torrey has little in common with the main character he created, but he does sympathize with the restlessness Eric feels regarding his occupation. Before creating Bad Theology, a production company with his business partner Justin Moretto, Torrey worked for a broadcast network in Charlotte creating short form content. While there was some room for creativity, it wasn’t what he craved to do. Realizing no one was going to just hand him a company to make movies, he decided to leave his secure job.
"It was really this moment where I realized that no one is going to give this to me. I’m going to have to take a risk, maybe now is the time to do that," said Torrey.
FARE is technically set in anywhere, USA, although Charlotteans will note the familiar background throughout the film as Eric drives around uptown…like the glow of the Duke Energy building and familiar street names.
Eric’s marriage isn’t doing so hot. In fact, he’s pretty sure his wife is cheating on him. While he waits for his next ride request, he sometimes parks outside his house and notices a strange man go in.
"He’s in a marriage that has long since grown cold in the story. It begins the marriage is dead, he’s depressed, he’s seen the guy but he’s got no fight left in him," said Torrey.
That is until one night, he gets a call to pick up a guy who looks pretty familiar. It’s a man named Patrick, the guy sleeping with Eric’s wife.
So Eric knows who Patrick is, but Patrick has no idea who Eric is, and you as an audience member are just cringing waiting to see what happens next as they make small talk about the desolate state of Eric’s marriage.
It’s not long after that that Eric reveals who he is—the husband of the wife Patrick is sleeping with. They then pull over to pick up one more unsuspecting passenger: Audrey, Eric’s wife and Patrick’s lover. Who looks very surprised to see them together.
The three drive out of the city on a country road, it’s dark now. And Eric is driving faster and faster. And then, something else happens that if we told you, would ruin the rest of the film.
"You think you’ll have it figured out and be wrong every time," Torrey said.
FARE took only three days to shoot which Torrey says helped cut down the cost. And for the record, the script was not inspired by real life events.
In fact when Torrey decided to quit his job to pursue a dream job of making films, his wife was all for it.
"The last affirmation I needed to quit the job was her and I woke up one morning and she had written on my mirror ‘I believe in you, I love you, go for it,'" he recalled.
So even though the relationship thankfully doesn’t mirror his own, Torrey says he learned a lot about marriage through playing this character and writing the script.
"I’ve got a marriage that is full of love and affection and excitement. We are happy," said Torrey. "But that’s not the foundation of a healthy partnership. That should be an aspect, but if the partners aren’t fighting for each other, working for each other, choosing each other every day then it’s perhaps not as healthy of a relationship as it could be."
This week the film will be introduced to a whole new audience when it’s released through on demand platforms including iTunes and Amazon. So if you’re feeling lucky, pull up a chair and watch this one with your sweetheart, it’s bound to put some new perspective in your review mirror.