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Midnight Run [Celluloid Hero]

 

Midnight Run (1988)

I am a huge fan of Robert DeNiro, but somehow this movie never got my attention. It doesn’t have the reputation of a Goodfellas or Godfather, but I’m not sure why. DeNiro plays a tough guy, violent and vulgar, not far outside his regular roles in his early-to-mid career, before he decided to become a comic actor. “Midnight Run” was fun, and definitely a hidden gem in DeNiro’s catalogue.

DeNiro plays an ex-cop who becomes a bounty hunter. His big hunt is an accountant (played by Charles Grodin) who stole millions of dollars from a mobster (played by Dennis Farina). The mild-mannered Grodin plays a great foil to the brash and impulsive DeNiro.

There are a lot of twists and turns, as you’d expect in a story about bounty hunters and bail bondsmen and mobsters. No one really trusts anyone else, they’re all working every angle, they’re all two-timing eachother and trying to ensure they stay safe while everyone else takes the fall.

There are two weak points: some of the language, and Charles Grodin. I don’t want to sound too prude, but some of the cursing just sounded out of place. It felt like the writers had a script written, then found out DeNiro signed on and said “oh man we need to add some f-bombs!” and it just felt forced.  My complaint against Grodin is just a feel thing; I don’t full know why I didn’t like him, but the whole movie just felt a bit off. I’m not sure who I would have rather cast in the role, but he just felt a bit overwhelmed by DeNiro.

Despite those couple of flaws, I really enjoyed this. DeNiro was great, Grodin was decent. The supporting cast of Dennis Farina, Joe Pantaliano, Yaphet Kotto and John Ashton were all solid. As I said before, this movies seems to get lost and I’m not sure why. It’s got fun action scenes, some good cop/criminal drama, and mostly good acting and writing.

 

 

On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Midnight Run” gets a 7 out of 10.

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