Midnight Clear (US - DVD R1)
Troy Anderson wonders why did the religious movies get Left Behind?
Eva might want to kill herself. Mary and Jacob are visiting their brain-dead father/husband in a long-term care facility. Kirk sits alone in his convenience store, while Lefty has lost his job due to being late all the time. Mitch tries to cope with being the survivor of the car crash that placed Mary's husband into a permanent coma. Every one of these people will have their lives come together over the course of this film.
That's not to make comparisons of Altman like greatness. The film wants to use its six degrees of separation to form a loose frame to explain how Christian teachings perpetuate throughout human life. It's a dumbed down version of the interpersonal connections that help outcasts and downtrodden people to come together. The rose-tint upon this tale is unmistakable, as Director Dallas Jenkins uses the narrative to reinforce that all of these people are going to be saved by their faith in a Judeo-Christian lifestyle.
The transfer is pretty forgettable, as Lionsgate doesn't spend a lot of cash to improve upon the 1.78:1 transfer. Shot as an independent movie, you get the impression that Jenkins and company were looking towards a longer life on home video and cable television to keep the film alive. The result is A/V Quality that is soft and frequently washed-out when not in the midst of an evening exterior shot.
The audio is a standard Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track that again backs up my point about this being a film for mass television and DVD viewing. It had done the Festival circuit at one point, so I wonder how a larger theatre sound system must've been able to handle this weak audio. The front channels get all of the dialogue, but still manage to muddle and drop lines.
Outside of the weepy words, you get some ambient noise and background filler that seems to be too overpowering on the mix. I'm not sure if that was an aesthetic choice, but it's distracting and only served to take me out of the film.
Midnight Clear is really light on the extras. You get a quickie featurette that takes a looking at the making of the film. Then, there's the self-congratulatory commentary with the Jenkins Brothers. The director, screenwriter and author of the original story take their time to overly praise the actors and act like this lukewarm morality play was one of the greatest films of the last decade. Nothing new is gained about the production from what they have to add to the common knowledge. All you find out is that good intentions don't necessarily make for quality viewing material.
Midnight Clear is a film that represents a growing media concern in the United States. Christians and their like-minded comrades have decided to take a chunk of the media space and push their message via films and other tools of the masses. While this film isn't pushy, it represents something else that is threatening to destroy the American way of pop culture.
It's a boring mess that does nothing but take up around two hours of your viewing time. That's time that you can spend watching porn, mindless violence or the delightful works of Lloyd Kaufman. If you spend any amount of personal time listening to weepy morality plays, then you deserve the rotting cerebellum that comes along with the viewing. This is a junk disposable film that's meant to inform the masses that Christ saves and all others pay cash. That's why I can't even recommend it for a rental.
Review by Troy Anderson
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13
Release Date: 4th December 2007
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Extras: 'Behind the Clear' Featurette, Audio Commentary with Author Jerry B. Jenkins, Director Dallas Jenkins and Screenwriter Wes Halula
Easter Egg: No
Director: Dallas Jenkins
Cast: Stephen Baldwin, K Callan, Mary Thornton, Richard Riehle, Victoria Jackson and Mitchell Jarvis
Length: 102 minutes
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