In Search of a Midnight Kiss

A terrible curse of being a story-teller is that (apparently) you view other people’s creations in a different way from everyone else. I’m forever being either told off for inadvertently ruining an ending or asked, when deconstructing a book/film/play, why I even contemplated the questions that led me to an early conclusion.

Yesterday I saw a preview of Alex Holdridge’s In Search of a Midnight Kiss at the Curzon Soho. Other than the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, this was the first film I’ve seen for some years where I’ve totally misread the ending. I thought I had it pegged from a third of the way in, but in the final analysis the writing proved far braver than the Hollywood backdrop of the movie might have foreshadowed. But then this was downtown LA and not the glitz of Beverley Hills.

It wasn’t only the narrative. I sometimes write dialogue for a living (and was constantly having to fight the urge to include more in Johnny Mackintosh – the perceived wisdom is that kids don’t like dialogue-heavy books), but In Search of a Midnight Kiss had a script to die for and actors who carried it off. I was able to chat with Director Alex and actors Sara Simmonds (Vivian) and Robert Murphy (Jack when he wasn’t the cinematographer) afterwards – it turns out these guys gave been film-making together for several years. And it shows.

Their commitment to their art was evident, having nearly the whole team over to attend the preview (only on Screen 2 – come on Curzon!) and everyone was off to Paris on Friday to shoot the next project – on a deservedly slightly bigger budget, but promising to remain true to their movie-making principles.

My only gripe (and it’s a small one) was that the editing seemed slightly harsh, with occasional conversations referring back to something we weren’t privy to (or was I not paying attention?). At only ninety minutes, I could have happily sat through ten more for the bigger picture, but this was film-making on the edge, borrowing on credit cards and calling in favours because your work justifies it, and maybe they were simply lacking another few pieces of plastic to lengthen the final cut.

It’s black and white, laugh out loud funny from the very first moment, ultra cool but so very poignant at times. After the film, Sara repeated Vivian’s line about how everyone’s lives are hanging by a thread and you never know when it might snap – and the film mirrors the fragility in all of us.

What happens at the end? Of course my lips are sealed, apart from to say The Scorpions’ Winds of Change has always been a guilty pleasure of mine and I’ll never be able to listen top it in the same way again. If you want to find out, go and see the film. You won’t be disappointed.
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~ by keithmansfield on June 5, 2008.

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