UFF Review: ‘Bolt Driver’ Is A Satirical Riff On Scorsese’s Classic and Trump-Era Incels
“I guess I do believe that we live in The Matrix because, I don’t know. Sometimes I look around and I just feel like I’m in a video game anyway, and instead of health points I’m just trying to get likes.” These are the words that open Nick Corirossi and Van Alper’s film Bolt Driver, which serves as both a love letter to and a modernized satirical interpretation of Martin Scorsese’s beloved neo-noir crime thriller Taxi Driver. This time around the fictional politics of Charles Palestine have been shifted to the disturbingly real incels of the Trump era, with a main character who spews out just as much toxic masculinity as you’d expect and the taxi gig being traded out for a more relevant ride-share equivalent. Though not containing the same high level moral debate of it’s predecessor, the writing is still scathingly accurate and packs a darkly humorous yet powerful political punch.
In a similar fashion to Scorsese’s seminal classic, the opening act of Bolt Driver introduces the viewer to Travis (Corirossi himself in the lead role) through a series of monologues about experiencing loneliness and boredom, only here it’s delivered mostly via his Snapchat stories featuring animal filters as opposed to strictly through narration. The events of the film mirror Taxi Driver almost exactly though the troubled past of the original film’s protagonist that invoked a weird sense of sympathy from the viewer is no longer present, instead replaced by the ignorance, selfishness, misogyny, and lack of empathy boasted by present day incels. Bolt Driver’s Travis frequents OnlyFans, harasses waitresses at the local Hooters restaurants, hits on talent at Adultcon, and follows random women on the street in addition to holding them hostage in his ride-share vehicle while en route to their destination. The main events of the movie are narrated with various ramblings of his warped ideologies and interspersed with the aforementioned social media videos displaying his unsettling demeanor.
After picking her up for a fare one day he becomes obsessed with a passenger named Rainey (Rainey Qualley, Ultrasound) who is working for a local Trump campaign office. After almost instantaneously developing the mindset of “if a girl that pretty can support these politics, maybe I can too” he begins smothering this clearly uninterested young woman with the same sickening sense of confidence boasted by Bickle in Taxi Driver. The final act serves as a nail in this character type’s coffin as opposed to a moment of redemption, which is a perfect cherry on top of the disturbingly satirical madness unfolding across the film’s brief yet effective forty-two minute runtime. The whole film being shot entirely on an iPhone from 2016-2021 makes for one of the most realistic found footage experiences out there in terms of presentation, and it’s tailored to a very specific audience in such a clever way that many of the people it’s making fun of won’t even get the joke. You can take Bolt Driver for spin yourself over at https://boltdriver.la to experience these events from a safe, sanitary distance or check out the trailer below to see if this is a ride you want to take.