Nightstream: King Car (2021)

Director: Renata Pinheiro

Running Time: 97 Minutes

Starring: Luciano Pedro Jr, Matheus Nachtergaele, Tavinho Teixeira, Jules Elting, Clara Pinheiro

From being born in the back of his father's taxi to discovering he can talk to automobiles, cars have been a massive part of Uno's life. After an accident takes his mothers life, a college-bound Uno (Luciano Pedro Jr) would rather work towards a greener Brazil than join his family's taxi business. That changes when a newly-passed law bans cars over 15-years old from the roads. Teaming up with his uncle Zé (Matheus Nachtergaele), they convert old cars into futuristic vehicles that are conscious and capable of speaking.

Co-writing the screenplay with Sergio Oliveira and Leo Pyrata, director Renata Pinheiro attempts social commentary through this tale of autonomous cars fighting to exist. After being discarded by an oppressive system, they're given a new lease on life which encourages them to rise up and challenge the status quo. It's a fascinating idea in its own right, though it's merely one among a tangled bundle.

As the story further develops to take other avenues, these ideas fight for screen-time only to sadly fall short of their potential. This results in many interesting proposals unfortunately feel monotonous and dragged out, while the cast deliver performances veering towards cartoonish for characters left behind by the plot. When the feature feels like a combination of Rise of the Planet of the Apes crossed with Titane, it's a shame the promise seems out of reach.

King Car previously played at Nightstream