DVD Review: “Midnight Express: 30th Anniversary Edition”
Still as visually arresting and harrowing as it was in 1978, Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express” is the nightmarish true story of Billy Hayes (the late Brad Davis), a young American whose attempt to smuggle hashish out of Turkey resulted in five harrowing years in an Istanbul prison. “Midnight Express” is a wrenching account of Hayes’ battle to win his freedom, escape persecution from guards and maintain his dwindling grasp on sanity.
As foreign prison epics go, “Midnight Express” makes “Papillon” seem like an island getaway. The cast, including Davis, Randy Quaid and John Hurt as smugglers doing time in horrific conditions, is first-rate, but Parker is responsible for the film’s innovative use of light and shadow. He, along with Ridley Scott, was among a small group of British directors who cut their teeth making cutting-edge TV commercials before taking their visual cues to the big screen. “Midnight Express” seems as if it was filmed a decade or two ahead of its time.
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