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The dialogue lies, but the faces do not. Faces tell stories. This takes a lot of trust by a director to let this happen, leaving most of the acting to be done by faces only.”Daddio,” a film about faces written and directed by Christy Hall, is quite amazing considering it is a two-character piece with continuous dialogues. On the screen are Dakota Johnson’s and Sean Penn’s faces, shot so close as to fill it; their eyes sometimes or smiles or thoughts behind their eyes.Hall’s words pull you in; they make you come closer while Johnson and Penn yank us into their separate worlds and histories just using their mouths.Face tells a million stories.

“Daddio” happens within an hour-and-a-half ride from JFK Airport back into Manhattan all in that yellow cab there. The drive usually takes 50 minutes without any traffic jams. That night, however, there was an accident which resulted in a long delay for them.In today’s world passengers can keep quiet throughout drive such as this one only engaging in their cell phones.However; “Daddio” starts with two-person dialogue.Driver Clark (Penn) and his passenger who is known as Girlie (Johnson) have all the time required.The talk is initially that kind of small talk that goes on between people inside yellow cabs.It could be about flat fees or cash versus credit cards.But still…There is no such thing as small talk if it is pleasurable.

Where this conversation ends up going is really something, and it’s probably best that you don’t know too much going in.You really feel like anything could happen.It’s almost like the taxi cab is traveling through some parallel universe where everyone’s cards are laid out on the table.Nobody’static here.There are chasms all over—across generation gaps – across man-woman gaps – across sensibility gaps.The taxi does not judge even when it gets heated or people disagree.But because of some reason, the two decide to talk to each other until he drives her home.No one opts out.A guy keeps texting her asking when she’s going to get there.Her phone is busy with work and she can just tell Clark flatly that she’s not in the mood for conversation, and go back to never looking at him again.Throughout, there are times where Girlie gets sucked into the digital world away from Clark’s analogue world, drawn into the vortex of her relationship which does not bring a smile on her face.One thing is certain.

The chemistry between two actors is a mysterious thing. It is really interesting about how both Johnson and Penn managed to keep us glued despite their immobility. Most of the time they just see each other through the rear-view mirror though they have real engagement.

There is always Clark, the talkative people with views on everything. He is curious, not only about her but also whatnot.” “I just pay attention,” he said. He doesn’t miss anything. This place is so warm compared to Penn. Nevertheless, warmth and Penn are two words that do not go together with him making it so real that it seems like a heart has been pulled out of one’s chest. But please don’t confuse him for a teddy bear. You get the impression that he might be dangerous if you cross him. Sometimes, Clark can come across as obnoxious; he says whatever comes to his mind and some of his perspectives and language have become obsolete with time. Daddio However, when it comes to reading people and going places others might fear going; he nails it down! When he tells Girlie with appreciation in his smile, “You can handle yourself,” you know precisely what he’s driving at. She is strong enough to look right into his face. But she looks lost too…He likes her probably.

Daddio Hall shows genuine skill in dealing with the challenges posed by shooting her own material as well as making an entire movie inside a car.” There have been other movies executed this way, haven’t they? (“Locke” is an example). The cinematography by Phedon Papamichael is beautiful and moody, with the lights of Manhattan blurred into abstraction out the windows, the shadows and lights brushing through the interior, the way Johnson’s face is seen in the rearview against the back window, floating around in space (like some of those shots of Cybill Shepherd in the final scene of Taxi Driver). Hall employs angles wisely: Penn’s eyes are seen head-on or through a rearview mirror; her reflection; his. That picture never stops moving. The film feels like it’s alive. The sad score by Dickon Hinchliffe is masterful and adds layers underneath from when she gets into that taxi cab’s back seat till that instant when he turns on his meter. You know this isn’t going to be just any ordinary ride.

It’s a cliché but talking with someone is like batting a beach ball back and forth: both parties must keep the ball in the air. If one person drops it, then it has to be picked up by another person and batted right back at them. Everyone knows how frustrating it is to throw over a beach ball only for it not to be thrown back. Or even worse, they do not throw it at you in first place.

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