A quick glance at its supporting cast — a lineup that includes such notables as Mickey Rourke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Penelope Ann Miller and Sean Astin — might lead you to suspect “Adverse” has only recently been retrieved from a time capsule originally sealed in the mid-to-late 1990s. And, indeed, if it weren’t for the occupation of the protagonist — he’s a rideshare driver, not a cabbie — and the abundance of smartphone text messaging, director Brian A. Metcalf’s modestly diverting thriller probably could pass for a direct-to-video concoction from that era. There’s something positively meta going on here, though you may have to be a hard-core B-movie buff to fully appreciate it.

Lead player Thomas Nicholas dials it up to 11 — and, occasionally, 12 — with his intense portrayal of Ethan, a young man who starts out trying to keep his temper in check after a fuzzily defined brush with the law



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