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Night Bus is a feature length film based entirely on a London Night Bus. It is a dialogue led, character based ensemble piece. The film takes place on one journey. The film uses an episodic format to play fly on the wall, snooping on a variety of characters as they travel home. The bus is populated by a variety of characters, from middle class theater goers, to urban 'youths', late night (immigrant) workers, drunks, addicts, students, tourists and revelers. Written by
Interesting tidbits, but Simon Baker has neither the maturity or insight to bear significant meaning.
If I learned one thing from my time at the London Film Festival, it's that the bus is actually better than the tube. If slower, it's way cheaper and way more convenient. I never had to take the night bus, but walking into Simon Baker's Night Bus, I know the type of diverse and cultural characters you find on a bus in London, though they're less talkative in real life. Here, the bus is the main character, and we're a fly on the wall by way of Robert Altman with no focus in mind. We're offered tidbits of arguments with Mike Leigh-esque working class and identifiable characters. Unfortunately, Baker has neither the maturity nor the insight for any of his superficial stories to bear meaning or satisfying entertainment. It boasts a cheeky and juvenile sense of humour and soap opera style arguments. Too often is one side of its many conflicts so clearly right and the other is blatantly wrong. There's no sense of grit to be found.
It's not that it's dishonest, it's just not coming from a terrifically honest place. It does study some fleeting topics such as racial tensions and it does make a point about the oppressions between genders, particularly in the way women can oppress men. But it's not intelligently explored. Instead, it focuses on a tried and true theme of connecting to people and how we can empathise with how we all have problems. If anything, it does leave you feeling that talking to strangers is good. The film is generally inoffensive and is a breezy watch for its 90 minutes. It could've been an actor's playground but instead it's showreel practise for all these semi- professionals. They have to deal with one-note characters, some more convincing than others. The cinematography does make the most of the tough conditions and is much shinier than this year's other notable road movie Locke. It's just not as well written and far less significant.
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