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This one gets my vote for the year's most boring movie. Taking his twentieth (!) turn behind the camera, Clint Eastwood directs this ambling, aimless adaptation of John Berendt's non-fiction bestsel- ler, about a Manhattan writer (John Cusack) covering the trial of a wealthy Savannah socialite (Kevin Spacey) accused of murdering his gay lover (Jude Law). In the process of uncovering information for what he decides will be a book, the journalist crosses paths with several eccentrics, including a cackling voodoo priestess (Irma P. Hall) and the real-life drag queen Lady Chablis (played by her- self). While the core story is certainly compelling, MIDNIGHT has nary a whiff of dramatic urgency during it's long, long, *long* 154-minute running time. (Shit, even the trial sequences are tame. Have you ever seen such polite proceedings?) On the up side, how- ever, the locales are lush and the accents authentic. Making her acting debut (and scoring her fair share of scenes), Ms. Chablis is remarkably unremarkable. As is Spacey, who underplays to the point of near disinterest. Jack Thompson is a stronger presence as the defending lawyer, as is Clint's daughter Alison, as a love interest to the reporter. She's a cutie. Cusack, however, is a loss-- a non-presence who wears the same slack-jawed expression is every single scene. Heaven help the straight man. BTW, was our projec- tion bulb going bad, or were more than few scenes in need of better lighting? (Rated "R"/154 min.) Grade: C- Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros
Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: November 23, 1997.