Sunday, May 15, 2011

Now here come two words for you: Shut the fuck up.

No 317 - Midnight Run
Director - Martin Brest

I have decided I don't like having a job anymore. Specially not one which goes mental busy for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. 2011 has been pretty shocking when it comes to film watching and blog updating. I promise to rectify this as much as I can.
Lets crack on

Midnight Run had me hooked from the moment the awesome score and '90's sitcom' style title credits came up (about 2min30 through here) - but then, it grabbed me either further, with music by Danny Elfman. But this music is different to the standard Danny Elfman fare (which stems from his Tim Burton work but is now in most of the scores that he does). I mean just listen to it!

Danny Elfman - Midnight Run Score Suite

So, we have something which sounds zippy and funky (from an unexpected source) and which sets the tone for this film. A film which is really both a buddy movie and an utterly farcical chase. This was back in the 80's when De Niro could be really funny without falling into terrible self parody:
Here, he plays on familiar ground. His Jack is a pent up aggressive wise guy with a dirty dirty poop mouth - playing the role with the same intensity that is there in his more serious films, but allowing the smart alec within Jack to really shine.
His character manages to share some great scenes and there is some excellent dialogue shared with Yaphet Kotto's FBI agent or with Joe Pantoliano's fabulously '80's Eddie Moscone.

The plot is simple. Jack has 5 days to retrieve a fugitive and bring him back to LA. Over the course of these 5 days, an ever growing and ever confusing list of other parties try and also get the fugitive.
This means we end up with manic chase sequences, moving from planes, trains and automobiles. It sets up some excellent set pieces and makes for a film which is really quite amusing. But where it shines are the little moments which change tone. After all, if this was just a madcap chase movie we'd end up with a far inferior product.... What we also get, is a pretty deep buddy relationship.
De Niro's Jack spends most of the film handcuffed to Grodin's John Mardukas. Despite Jack being in the top 3 bounty hunters I've seen, he clearly has issues, he clearly needs help from the far more peaceful Mardukas. As Jack tries to get his money, John seems to try and better Jack's complicated (and pretty sad) life.

Its those more sober moments, when the two genuinely bond, which are the film's strength. These moments of tenderness and the gentle unchipping of Jack's tough rough persona lie at the heart of everything, and make the complex tying up of plot strings into something really satisfying. Without ruining the awesome fun of the madcap moments throughout it all.

Bloody good film