A Midnight Clear Reviews
A terrific ensemble cast with a number of young actors who went on to big careers. Shot in Utah but looking every bit like Germany the film explores the ambiguity, morality and senselessness of war. Ordinary soldiers on both sides who just want to survive and go home and show a humanity to each other that provides the heart of this film.
Had to work really hard to find this DVD since it is fairly old. Well worth the effort.
all the fighting for the most part and focuses on a small company by themselves in the middle of nowhere, as a isolated outpost. It's different than most war movies, with not a lot of killing, until the end anyway. There is a small company of German soldiers as well, and they kindly exchange presents, sing Christmas carols, and have a smowball fight. So not you're everyday war movie. It's creepy at times, funny, suspenseful and interesting, and you can always expect the unexpected. But it's a little bit slow. The one shootout is ok, not great, and there is a good death scene. It's very anti-war, and shows the high commands disrespect for ordinary soldiers, and I always hate them for it. So good movie, not action packed by far, but different in a good way.
Adapting William Wharton's novel (whose 'Birdy' was also recently realised as a movie at the time) Gordon makes canny use of his painstakingly picked platoon of young stars: among them Ethan Hawke (who also narrates), Kevin Dillon and Gary Sinise.
The heartbreaking futility of war is brought to the fore in many instances throughout, most memorably in the early image of the corpses of a frozen American and German soldier in an arranged, awkward embrace in the snow.
John C. McGinley plays a growling US Major who acts as the chief arsehole of the piece, and within this you get the feeling that the pacifistic director was making some sideswipes towards the warmongering powers that be heading towards the Gulf at the time of release of "A Midnight Clear".
Ethan Hawke was very much a rising star at the time and he does well but at times the film drifts like the snow that envelops the scenery while the portrait of unfeeling superior officers seems hackneyed at times.