Before Midnight (2013)

(Netflix Streaming, December 2016) I am, once amazed, at writer/director Richard Linklater and what he has managed to do with Before Midnight. I shouldn’t like that film. It’s the third in a trilogy whose first film I haven’t yet seen (although I was quite taken by the second one), it’s a chatty domestic drama and its dramatic centrepiece is a terrible argument between husband and wife. It’s really not my cup of tea, but much like I was halfway smitten by Before Sunset, I’m similarly charmed by Before Midnight. It’s a dialogue-heavy film, but what dialogue! The interplay between Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke is fantastic even (especially) in the midst of their argument, and there’s a lot of wit in the way the conversations develop. The dialogue can be quotable at time (There’s a “bimbo” scene that’s an instant classic as far as I’m concerned) yet heartfelt soon afterwards. The development of the couple’s relationship over time and three films (yet in short, almost real-time bursts every time) is remarkable: in-between this trilogy and Boyhood, Linklater is carving a unique niche for himself as a filmmaker experimenting with time in ways others won’t even consider. The Greek Mediterranean scenery adds much to the film without undue effort, but the real heart of the film is in the script and the way the lead actors develop it. I’ve been taken by surprise twice by this trilogy, and I have to get my hands on Before Sunrise before long now that I think that I know what to expect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *