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‘Dash’ review: One shot rideshare thriller goes beyond a gimmick

As innocent as buying drugs from a prostitute can be.

Is there any type of film more suited to being shot in one take than the ever-burgeoning rideshare thriller? Dash follows one night in the life of Milly (Alexander Molina) as he picks up customers and attempts to sell cocaine. Selling drugs and dealing with customers are the least of Milly’s concerns as the secrets in his life start to collapse around him.

Dash begins innocently enough – well, as innocent as getting a handjob in  a car and buying cocaine from a prostitute can be. The first few customers include a gay throuple and a pair of gen Z’ers who only communicate through text. Aside from the drugs he has to sell, it seems like just another night for Millly. Even when things take a more serious turn, the film never loses its sense of fun.

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Which is not to say the more thrilling moments are undersold. If anything, the mix of dark comedy and suspense brings the chaos Dash sometimes mishandles. In time, moments that would normally be humorous add to the mayhem of the night. Dash gets the tone right, but the pacing can be erratic. The slower moments sometimes feel like placeholders between the next big scene. There is not the sense of tension the story requires.

Every time it seems like the plot has lost its way, writer-director Sean Perry is able to pull things back with a sudden text or voicemail. This can be a difficult task since Dash is literally watching someone drive around in their car. Action is replaced with character and reveals. Molina also does an excellent job of keeping audiences engaged. Milly is an extremely flawed character that is impossible to root for. Liking a character and being interested in them are not mutually exclusive, however. For all his faults, Milly has an odd charisma to him; audiences might notice him, but they will care about what happens to him.

One shot films are difficult as they often feel like style over substance. Much like its main character, Dash has obvious flaws that audiences will have to contend with. It manages to rise above these missteps to tell an exciting and funny story. 

Dash comes to VOD and Digital November 29

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