Before Midnight – Review by Nicholas Casaletto
Amongst the exploding summer blockbusters and popcorn films to come out this year, it’s nice to take a breath of fresh air and watch, what I truly believe, is a master class in film making. “Before Midnight” is the third installment in a rather unconventional indie film franchise. The first film “Before Sunrise” was released in 1995 and was a story about love at first sight. The chemistry between the two leads was outstanding and we were left with a rather open ending. The second film, “Before Sunset” takes place 9 years after the events in Sunrise and was about a reuniting of a long lost love, which was once found. Now the year is 2013, these characters are back on screen and are older, more mature, and now packed with more gut wrenching drama than ever. How does this film stack up to the first two?
To say “Before Midnight” is a masterpiece is subjective, like all film is. In my personal opinion, it is one of the most satisfying, real, and truly emotional stories ever put on the screen. I loved every scene, every second, and every little mannerism the characters portrayed on screen. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have some of the best on screen chemistry, I have ever witnessed. The Director (Richard Linklater) has a unique and risky way of shooting his characters. He chooses to shoot long, one shot scenes that simply just let the actors, well, act! Which is something so rare and pleasant in today’s films, seeing is that we are boggled down with cut scenes and shaky camera enough to make us feel sick in the theater.
The opening scene in this film, between Hawke’s character and his son is so genuine and real, I did not feel like I was watching actors in a film, but rather a documentary involving actual real people. This is a huge credit to the actors themselves. We go on to a scene where Hawke and Deply are in the car with their two twin daughters and see how they are interacting after being together for all this time. This 13 minute scene does not cut away from the actors and they all do a magnificent job, in what almost seems like an improvisational long take.
Out of all three films, this one is definitely the “darkest” of the bunch, addressing real life marital issues, up close and personal. I will not give away spoilers, however, the last 30 minutes of this film, truly takes an unexpected turn and had my jaw open the entire time. The ending is up for much speculation and debate for film fans and fans of the franchise itself. This, I feel, is the best kind of endings. “Before Midnight” is my favorite film of the year so far, with the midway point in the summer blockbuster series coming up. I wonder if it will stay that way for long. I highly recommend the “Before Midnight” and the entire series in general. It is a great watch and something very satisfying and different than the normal romance films we are used to.
Final Grade: A