Eric Wolfram's Writing, Review of A Taxi for Three,

A Taxi for Three

Directed by Orlando Lübbert

A Taxi For Three isn't a violent movie, but the opening scene tricked me. Basically, a cab driver is taken hostage and forced to be a the get-away driver for two scary Chileans thugs. The ringleader informs the cab driver of a mission -- they must teach his friend how to steel. He says the street is a better teacher than a university. And in Chile, maybe he's right.

The young thug, an orphan street hoodlum with the jitters of a young Robert DeNiro, his character capable of anything, set me up to expect senseless violence. At that point, I was ready for anything -- especially violence. In fact, throughout the film, there is very little violence at all. A Taxi For Three ends up coming across the silver screen as a slapstick rendition of Natural Born Killers but with hardly any killing at all.

Very soon, the thugs get humanized, in spite of their crimes, by their honor and fairness. Like Robin Hood, they steel from a rich merchant and give part of the take to the merchant's poor employee. They start treating the cab driver as an equal. They insist on sharing part of the bounty with him.

And it doesn't take long for the cab driver to develop a thirst for the crime and cash. Especially when he arrives home to his wife and middle class children -- who are brats. After he has a moment to reflect on the day, he rationalizes his compliance in the crimes.

In a pivotal scene, he is called away from the family table to go across town to comfort the young thug.

Music of synthesized horns tipped hats to A ClockWork Orange -- only a Taxi for Three is a non-violent version. Instead the film shows us some treacheries of the middle class.

Since it is Chile, they all look poor to our American eyes, but they all have more than many of us here in the US -- a house, a garden, rustic wood floors, parking, family, love, laughter and music. Indeed, in many ways, they are richer than me.

Although the film walks the line between something significant and something ordinary, it manages to delivers a life affirming message through it's dark cloud of thievery, black male, guns infidelity and betrayal. A Taxi for Three is full of vivad scenes from Chile. A colorful celebration in the amusement park and party in their back yard stand out among the most striking visual images from the film.

Country: Chile
Year: 2001
Run Time: 90 minutes
Cast: Alejandro Trejo, Fernando Gómez-Rovira, Daniel Muñoz, Elsa Poblete, Cristian Quezada
Editor: Alberto Ponce
Cinematographer: Patricio Riquelme
Screenwriter: Orlando Lübbert

This Film Was Viewed at the 45th San Francisco International Film Festival

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