Bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) is sent to find and return bail jumper and former Mafia accountant, Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas (Charles Grodin). The FBI has had no success in locating The Duke, so when Jack finds him in next to no time, they are a little embarrassed. In order to collect his $100,000 fee, Jack must take The Duke from New York to Los Angeles. However, the Mafia and the FBI have other ideas, as does Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton), a rival bounty hunter. On their long cross-country trip to LA, the two get to know each other and they build up a strange friendship. Written by
The famous "Litmus Configuration" scene was mostly improvised. See more »
When meeting with Jimmy after the botched capture of the Duke neither thug has a bruise on his face. Marvin pistol whipped both of them. See more »
[Jack trying to pick door lock. He drops one of his picks. When he bends over to pick it up, a gun shot is fired through the door, right where his head had been previously]
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In the opening credits, Robert De Niro's name is spelled Robert DeNiro. See more »
To hell with the pretentiousness of a Shyamalan or the increasingly misplaced self-adulation of the Coens, 'Midnight Run' has no other purpose in life other than to use the movie as a medium of entertainment. . . and it does. Oh boy; it does.
Badly underrated on release and still unfairly under valued even now, 'Midnight Run' is actually class-act film making, the narrative impeccably engineered and the acting uniformly excellent throughout.
Faults? Definitely, not the least of 'em being the gratuitous use of profanity: the movie's tone is such that it just doesn't need the endless ear-grating use four letter words -- 'Midnight Run' isn't about reality or anything remotely approaching it, so the insistence on so much gutterspeak is a major error.
Set pieces though are gloriously handled, and the helicopter sequence is quite as good as anything in a Bond movie -- a genre that has managed quite well without spraying profanities everywhere because it knows, and we know, none of it's real.
9/10 then for 'Midnight Run', because as an exercise in how to develop a movie, to establish characters and plot trajectories, to bring 'em all together in a final wrap up and still leave space for a minor plot twist, it's of textbook quality.
* I happened to see this as a late-night TV re-run, the day after watching the Coen's 'The Man Who Wasn't There'. 'Midnight Run' is everything that the Coen's work is not: it isn't self reverential, it isn't seeking to be a cult, and above all, it knows how to tell a story with speed and with style. RECOMMENDED.
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