Passenger Side (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner01/04/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Enjoyable, well directed indie road movie that's by turns laugh-out-loud funny and quietly moving, thanks to a sharply written, nicely observed script and pair of pitch-perfect performances from Adam Scott and Joel Bissonnette.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Matt Bissonnette, Passenger Side stars Adam Scott as L.A. slacker Michael, who's annoyed when his ex-junkie brother Tobey (Joel Bissonnette, the director's brother) calls him on his birthday (without wishing him happy birthday) and asks him to drive him around Los Angeles for the day on an unspecified mission. After being guilted into it by a phone call from his mother, Michael reluctantly agrees and the pair set off together with Tobey making Michael wait in the car as he runs a series of suspicious-looking errands.

Along the way, the brothers have a number of only-in-L.A. encounters (transsexual hookers, porn stars, mystics, drunks, etc) and bicker constantly while skirting around the issue of Tobey's fellow recovering addict girlfriend Theresa (Robin Tunney), who neither of them seem to want to talk about.

The Good
Adam Scott has long been a source of enjoyably snarky supporting turns (you'll know the face, if not the name) so it's a pleasure to see him get a lead role for once and he duly delivers a likeable lead performance, even if his character is less than sympathetic in places. Joel Bissonnette is equally good and the two spark off each other nicely, generating believable chemistry that works well.

The Great
The dialogue is sharply observed and often laugh-out-loud funny - indeed, it's not hard to imagine that most of the script was drawn from real-life brotherly bickering sessions between Matt and Joel. Similarly, Bissonnette maintains a pleasingly meandering pace throughout (with a hint of mystery in the errands to ensure you don't lose interest) and the film also has a refreshingly realistic sense of L.A. geography, taking in Echo Park, Silverlake and the San Fernando Valley (home to the porn industry) before heading out to the desert and Joshua Tree.

Worth seeing?
Passenger Side is an enjoyable, emotionally engaging and frequently darkly funny road movie, thanks to a superb script and terrific performances from its two leads. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Passenger Side (15)
Passenger Side has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 15/12/2017 08:23

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films