‘Chicago Cab’ offers message of hope in time of chaos

By The Columbia Chronicle

James Boozer


As Chicago cabbies are being told by the city to shape up their act, a new movie portrays an average day of one Chicago cab driver who’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Based on Will Kern’s play “Hellcab,” “Chicago Cab” stars Paul Dillon (of NBC’s “The Pretender”) and begins on the morning of Dec. 21 as Dillon picks up his first fare of the day, a very religious family. This kicks off a strange 16-hour trip around Chicago that he will never forget.

Dillon’s passengers exchange more than just cab fare, discussing their lives, experiences and dreams with him. At one point, he takes a wild trip with a crack addict and his stoner girlfriend as they search for drugs and put Dillon’s life at risk. His day also includes racing through the Southside to get a pregnant woman and her husband to the hospital, and helping a young man solve his car trouble.

Dillon becomes so overwhelmed by one of his passengers (Tara Chocol) that he returns to her job hours after dropping her off to tell her what her so-called “boyfriend” (John C. Reilly) said about her.

As the movie progresses, you begin to see just how much pressure this cab driver can take before it becomes too much. In one of the movie’s best scenes Dillon picks up a distraught woman (Julianne Moore) who tells him she has just been raped. While taking her home, he becomes upset with himself for not being able to do more to help her. Unable to keep it to himself, Dillon releases his feelings to his final passenger (Reggie Hayes), an architect who offers his advice. The exchange between the two provides a moment of hope in an otherwise horrible situation.

This movie provides the audience with a rare look inside the world of a cab driver, which in this case is a world no one wants to live in.

The cast of over 40 includes John Cusack, Gillian Anderson and Laurie Metcalf and helps propel this movie to new heights by providing outstanding acting unlike any other independent film I have seen. “Chicago Cab,” which has been out for more than three weeks, is definitely a must-see.