REVIEW: BEFORE MIDNIGHT
SYNOPSIS: In BEFORE MIDNIGHT, we meet Celine and Jesse 9 years on. Almost 2 decades have passed since that first meeting on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early 40's in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.
REVIEW: What makes a great film? Thatís the multimillion dollar question. Most industry insiders would probably say that there are many answers to this question. Simply put, I believe critics have spent decades asking it, while general audiences pretty much know the answer to it. The answer, in my humble opinion, is that it is exceedingly difficult to articulate in words. And when you are witness to the collective art of the final product (the film), you as an audience member will detect those nuances that make or break a film. Itís a feeling you get and sometimes those feelings derive from nuances that are so subtle that it can be as simple as the dialog and chemistry between two characters or even simpler: the overall inexplicable way the film moves you. Besides, I would go as far as to say that it is probably easier to identify what makes a great actor, or director, or writer, than it is to articulate what makes a great film, from a critical stand-point. And I can name any number of movies I consider ďgreatĒ off the top of my head, as well as most of you can for reasons generally unique to our own perspectives.
Well, Before Midnight is such a movie that has that thing about it. That thing that lets one ponder otherís views of couples and relationships and their trials and tribulations as well as, the aging process and that which comes with the longevity of family and commitment. But, before I go any further and in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that Iíve not seen the previous two parts to this very interesting romantic saga. This, as you can imagine, makes it quite difficult for me to be completely fair and balanced, in my judgment of this latest release. Nevertheless, this film is so well written, directed and casted, that one could possible only see this single release and still enjoy the end product, with a little open-mindedness to good storytelling. Having said this, I do however recommend a viewing of its predecessors (Before Sunrise  and Before Sunset ), in order to truly appreciate the story behind these very simple but complicated characters and the emotionally charged storyline.
Overall, there are parts of this movie that seemingly drag on and on because of the heavy dialog between all characters. However, I was moved by the intensity of the relationship of the primary characters, played by Ethan Hawke (Training Day, 2001) and Julie Delpy (2 Days in New York, 2012). Consequently, I really like how they have managed to combine a highly sophisticated dialog approach with a number of great performances and an underlying narrative that says something powerful about the human condition. And I can honestly say that I havenít seen anything like it in recent times. This is a truly a follow-up sequel in all sense of the meaning, and at risk of sounding repetitive, it is a masterpiece and is worthwhile seeing (if one can get the full story by watching parts one and two before viewing this one). It really deserves four out of five stars, but considering I was at a little disadvantage, from not seeing the previous parts, I would say three and a half stars would be the lowest it deserves.
By Movi-Man Stan
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