Final Stop could be considered a thriller through and through. Strong performances throughout helped elevate the film as a whole. There are hints of casual racism and an underlining feeling that something is going wrong. The final product could have been stronger if it leaned more into these aspects though. It almost has a biting commentary on how we look at contracted workers as a whole but ends up with no teeth. The movie’s ongoing fight with what it wants to become more apparent as the runtime ticks on.
Jesus, a local URide driver, is working through the motions of a mundane life until he meets Brianna on one of his trips along with her all-around jerk boyfriend Kaiden. He starts to develop feelings for her which leads to some pretty questionable choices to win her over. After a run-in with Kaiden, things continue to escalate. He wants to be the knight in shining armor but once his mom allows his abusive father back into their lives, Jesus starts losing control and spirals down a path of no return.
Acting across the board is strong. Brianna (Kelly McCart) as the object of everyone’s affection does well with being conflicted in the situation she’s in without falling into the damsel in distress. Kaiden (Kamy D. Bruder) plays the abusive boyfriend with enough menace to hate him but not so evil that causes you to roll your eyes. And then we get to Jesus (Vince Rodriguez), the star of the show. While you end up feeling for the guy at first, you slowly become more cautious as his motives and actions become more extreme. Vince does great at making the transformation a little more believable.
With the acting done well, the technical areas of Final Stop are more mundane. The sound is serviceable if a little muffled in parts but still mostly level and understandable. And the cinematography is overly dark in places but does well to showcase locations without ever being confusing. All in all, the direction and editing are solid enough to work and are consistent enough to not be hard to follow in the darker scenes.
Final Stop sits in a peculiar spot. It points out tropes that we’ve grown accustomed to but then circumvents them, thus coming off like an intelligent thriller but then it overcorrects to fall into other trappings we’ve seen before. It seems to always be at odds with itself. For every nuanced role, there is an over-the-top side character. For every smart piece of writing, there is a questionable stretch of choices. If you’re looking for an interesting thriller, you can do worse than Final Stop. Just don’t expect anything groundbreaking. It is an average trip on a rideshare. You know where you’re going, and you get there in one piece. Sometimes that’s all you need.
6 out of 10