Midnight Run (1988)


By the end of the 1980s, every household on the planet had their favorite buddy-buddy duo: some liked Nolte and Murphy (48 Hrs), some were entertained by Gibson and Glover (Lethal Weapon), while others, again, were undecided between Schwarzenegger and Belushi (Red Heat) and Stallone and Russell (Tango & Cash). Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin were favorites of rare, petty VHS heroes, and unfortunately the only film they appeared in together, Midnight Run, did not ruin the box office as might be expected. based on the buoyancy of loyal fans he has gained over the years.

The studio wanted a more resonant name: Robin Williams was preparing for an audition, and the script was being reworked, so De Niro has a partner to play Cher, then a very active and lucrative actress. They gave up this second variant, arguing that the relationship of the main characters could get a sexual note, while Williams did not even have time to show what he knows, because director Martin Brest was fascinated by the chemistry of De Niro and Charles Grodin. hired him, despite not being an actor from the Hollywood first team.

Here, Grodin plays Jonathan Mardukas, an accountant nicknamed The Duke (“Duke”), who embezzled $ 15 million, found himself behind bars, and then disappeared as soon as his bail was paid. Eddie Moscone, a bail guarantor, spat on greasy money to get the Duke out of custody, not knowing what kind of business he was doing. When the Duke blows, Moscone dials the number of Jack Walsh, a former police officer, now a blackmailer, and promises him big money if he returns it by Friday.

Jack, when the always great Robert de Niro plays, learns that Mardukas was the accountant of Jimmy Serrano, a mobster whose path has intertwined with his before, and accepts the job. Miraculously, he doesn’t need much time to locate the Duke, and it seems to him that the job will be relatively easy, so he sets out to deliver it to Eddie. To prevent this from happening, a robbed gangster who sends his men to liquidate the fugitive will take care of it, then a detachment of federal agents who need him alive, so that, with his cooperation, they would throw Seran into prison, as well as another blackmailer, when hired Eddie Moscone in case Walsh didn’t do his job properly. A general rush through the cities of the North American continent, in the air, by train and car, follows, and Walsh and Mardukas discover that, despite all the differences, they still have something in common.

It sounds formulaic, of course, and to a lesser extent it is; it is not the first odd couple movie, and certainly not the last, not even in the mentioned decade. However, the excellently written script – which, by the way, is full of swear words – does not allow this achievement to be boring or tiring at any time, even when we notice a few of its flaws or are amazed by the predictability of some events. Screenwriter George Gallo often grabs vulgarity, but that, in a weird way, does not affect the natural tone of his dialogues, but even ennobles them to some extent.

I admit that Martin Brest had a great premonition when he paired these two men. De Niro, a tried and tested actress and Hollywood legend, is very impressive as a former Walsh cop and shows that he has comedic potential, but he would not be so conspicuous without the great Grodin, that sad-eyed and phlegmatic son of Chevy Chase and Steve Martin, and his Mardukas. The acting styles, as well as the characters they play, are different, but they fit together perfectly, and it can be seen that they had a good time shooting. Brest, famous for the comedy Beverly Hills Cop, is known for allowing its actors to improvise as much as they want, and here are some of the most memorable scenes created as a result of the acting of the main actors.

The names of the characters who inhabit the world of Brest’s children are the dream of every film connoisseur: Eddie Moscone plays the always different Joe Pantoliano (Memento), Japhet Coto, Giardello from the famous detective series Homicide: Life on the Street, plays the FBI chief, while the gangster Serana is embodied recently deceased cooler Denis Farina. Less well-known members of the team also match the mentioned very well – there are almost no ones who differ in acting.

Music is a field that could be discussed for days. Composer Danny Elfman composed the soundtrack, but, although, I know, many will not agree with me, that is perhaps the weakest aspect of the film. These are not bad songs, let’s be clear; Danny Elfman is a well-known, recognized and award-winning musician, both as a creator of film music and as a co-author in the band Oingo Boingo. But from time to time (at the beginning, especially), I had the impression that the background songs did not match the events on the screen, and everything seemed like a mix of stations on the radio. It can distract a little. Not to offend the soul, there are very good melodies, and some of them are nicely packaged with action, but, in general, I think (which does not mean that I’m right) that Elfman could have reported it by a hair of better quality.

The action starts even before the announcement of the subtitles, and does not subside until the end. There are flaws in the story, but they mostly concern some little things that can be overlooked at first sight, and therefore do not play a crucial role in the pleasure. If you decide to watch the movie Midnight Run, a mixture of genres, great acting, a script full of witty dialogues and two hours of light fun await you. They really don’t do this anymore.