“Passenger Side” (2009)
dir. Matthew Bissonnette
An independent Canadian feature shot in Los Angeles? A road movie where the characters don’t leave the city? All of it shot on consumer equipment with a crew of fifteen people? Yes. And it’s pretty good.
“Passenger Side” proves that a strong screenplay, well-developed characters, and a sense of humour can take you pretty far in cinema. With the exception of a couple scenes, no doubt by-products of a protracted budget and shooting schedule, the film is a pitch perfect exercise in simple, straightforward storytelling. Where twists and turns does not mean convoluted plot points or dialogue heavy expository scenes.
It has been compared to the likes of “Two-Lane Blacktop” among others by the director, critics, etc. but it also bares a strong resemblance to “Sideways,” the works of Beckett and Ozu. The film could be described as “little” but this should not eclipse the fact that there is more to the film then what you see on screen.
I highly recommend this rarity, warts and all. It’s an achievement no matter which way you look at it.