Monday, April 9, 2012

Midnight Express

Saying Alan Parker's Midnight Express is hard to watch at times is an understatement. Saying the film is one of the best products of the 1970's is also an understatement.

Even if some of the facts are tweaked for Hollywood standards, Oliver Stone's script stays true to the plight of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American imprisoned in Turkey for trying to smuggle drugs out of the country. In prison for nearly five years, Hayes suffered abuse you can't even begin to believe.

Davis plays Hayes with a tumult of emotions yet never overplays any of them. He shows that he's scared just from the look in his eyes. Same thing can be said for his anger and his sorrow. It's an ability not many actors have, and Davis was one of the fortunate ones.

A later scene in Midnight Express shows what Hayes has gone through. He has become numb from the frequent beatings and abuse. When he's temporarily out of the presence of guards and other prisoners, his true emotions pour out. He's absolutely scared shitless and he knows he's going to die if he doesn't get out. It's a hell of a moment.

Midnight Express as mentioned above is damn good. It's definitely a prison film that's in a field of its own. A tad violent in scenes (what else do you expect from something scripted by Oliver Stone?) but they're in small enough doses to handle. Anyone that can watch this more than once is braver than me.

My Rating: *****


  1. I saw this film when I was a teenager and it was one of those filmgoing experiences that really changed the way I look at movies. I don't love it as much any more but I still remember the profound effect it had on me.

  2. Wow ... this does sound like a powerful film, but unbelievably painful to watch. Thanks for this great review.


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