5ive Days to Midnight (TV Mini-Series 2004) Poster

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Scheduled to Die
Claudio Carvalho27 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
While visiting the graveyard of his beloved wife with his daughter Jesse (Gage Golightly), the physics professor John T. Neumeyer (Timothy Hutton) finds a case with a police dossier relating his death in five days. He initially believes it is a sick prank from the brilliant but deranged physics student Carl Axelrod (Hamish Linklater), but when a series of events related in the documents occur, he realizes that the file has been sent from the future. With the support of Detective Irwin Sikorski (Randy Quaid), whose name is indicated in the file as in charge of the investigation of his death, and suspecting of everybody including his girlfriend Claudia Whitney (Kari Matchett) that has a blurred hidden past, J.T. tries to change the future and his fate. But Carl believes that any modification in the time-line will jeopardize mankind and the future of the planet.

"Five Days to Midnight" is a good mini-series with a quite original story that blends action, thriller, sci-fi and drama in an intriguing way. Unfortunately the plot has the usual holes and flaws relative to time-travel. For example, if Jesse sent the dossier from the future, why not write a note to her father asking him to keep the open mind and explaining the whole situation? This would be the simpler and most rational way to advise J. T. Neumeyer how to prevent his death and eliminate his list of suspects. Therefore there is a great incoherence in the plot. In Brazil, the DVD was edited and released with 148 minutes running time, in a regretful but usual procedure of the Brazilian distributors. The mutilated edition destroys the original work of the director and writer, and the viewer loses many references along the story. Anyway I found that the weak climax of the plot could be improved by the writer since this mini-series has a great premise and deserved a better conclusion and resolution. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Cinco Dias Para a Morte" ("Five Days To the Death")
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My Opinion
windchimes20 February 2005
This is an awesome movie. I taped it when it was on television and I liked it so well I bought the DVD. It is one of those movies I can't get enough of and I have watched it several times.

The actors are fantastic - that little girl is a magnificent actress. Timothy Hutton really shows what he is capable of. I was not familiar with Kari Matchett, but I would like to see more of her work. Randy Quaid was perfect as the stereotyped detective.

The soundtrack (which I am still trying to find) is great - perfectly placed songs and music. The music enhanced the film rather than just disappearing into the background.

If you have the opportunity to get the DVD, do. I watched the commentary and although I don't usually like to watch those (I hate knowing the secrets - I want to keep the magic), I did thoroughly enjoy the information. Their methods of shooting with multiple cameras and the time sequencing was explained and I'll always wonder why every film isn't made with multiple cameras. It really elevated this movie into an unforgettable film.

I highly recommend this film to anyone. Don't be turned off if you don't like Sci-Fi - this is a movie for anyway who just wants to escape into an engrossing story.
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A terrible climax places this miniseries squarely into mediocrity.
Li-19 October 2004
Rating: ** out of ****

The two-hour Sci-Fi Channel made-for-TV movies may almost always suck, but you can usually rely on their miniseries for quality acting, writing, and special effects (I loved Taken and Children of Dune, really liked Dune, and there is nothing currently on TV that can compete with the new Battlestar Galactica). Five Days to Midnight breaks the channel's success streak, proving to be easily its worst miniseries to date.

5DTM stars Timothy Hutton as J.T. Neumeyer, a physics professor with a young daughter (I forget the actress's name, but she looks a lot like a young Drew Barrymore) and a life insurance agent named Claudia for a girlfriend (Kari Matchett). While visiting his late wife's grave on a Monday morning, his daughter discovers a briefcase nearby. Upon opening the case, J.T. is a little shocked to discover that the contents are files pertaining to his own murder, which will occur in five days, at 3:55 A.M. on Friday.

He initially laughs it off as a hoax, but when a few of the little "prophecies" come true, he becomes a fast believer and sets out to find out who would murder him and why. He has only a few clues, but there is a list of suspects: Carl Axelrod, an eccentric student of his; Brad, his financially desperate brother-in-law; Roy Bremmer, a man he's never even heard of; and even his own girlfriend Claudia, who is not all that she appears to be. With the clock ticking down and only the help of a homicide investigator (Randy Quaid), J.T.'s obsession with saving his own life may come at the cost of many others.

Undeniably, 5DTM boasts one of the niftier premises in recent memory. Playing like a mix of Minority Report meets 24, the combination of sci-fi and mystery has always appealed to me, so there's no question that a good portion of the miniseries is genuinely engaging and entertaining (mostly in the beginning and middle segments).

A lot of the series is intentionally predictable, and in a fun way, like you just know that gift from his girlfriend will be the same parka he wears in that photo from the briefcase where he's lying dead, or the car his girlfriend rented will be that green Cherokee in that other photo, and so on and so forth. 5DTM also has fun with the implications of possible time travel and the changes one could set forth in the fabric of time. I was also thankful for the fact that a lot of the characters actually caught on to the possibility of time travel quickly and even accepted it without much question.

There are a lot of decent to good performances, especially Timothy Hutton, who capably handles the functions of a likable everyman. The girl who plays his daughter is terrific as well, and Kari Matchett would be a dead-on match for Naomi Watts if she had a smaller nose and slightly larger cheeks. Angus Macfadyen makes for a menacing villain as Bremmer, who's so evil he clearly can't be Neumeyer's killer.

Unfortunately, the miniseries begins to stumble by the second half of 'Day 4,' and is just a complete and utter mess by 'Day 5.' The writers can't seem to be able to keep much consistency in the film's concept of time travel. Without giving much away, when certain changes are made to the timeline in the film's climax, newspaper articles and photos from the future are also altered to fit the new timeline (kind of like in Back to the Future), and the changes occur immediately. However, in 'Day 2,' Neumeyer changes a woman's fate, preventing her from getting killed by a collapsing tree. After this change in time, his daughter then reads all the newspaper articles from the file the next day, which still state that the woman died because of the tree. Wouldn't that portion of the article have been altered?

The climax is just terrible (moderate spoilers in this paragraph), with every major suspect conveniently converging in the same location with murder on their minds. Just as bad, at least three of the potential killers wouldn't have even targeted Neumeyer if not for the intervention of the briefcase itself, and the one suspect that continuously threatens his life also seems most likely to the deed, but a tacked-on, idiotic surprise revelation completely disregards that possibility, placing the blame firmly on one of the characters that wouldn't have killed him if not for the briefcase's intervention. I can't think of any plausible reason this person would have killed Neumeyer prior to the appearance of the briefcase, but a bullet that conveniently fits into a gun is supposed to lead us to believe it was this one character all along.

The identity of the killer is perfectly predictable, since it's always the person we're least likely meant to suspect. Even though I came to the realization very early, I still doubted myself because, as stated earlier, there's just no reason this person would have any true motivation to kill Neumeyer without the briefcase.

It's unfortunate, but with such an awful ending, I just can't go out of my way to recommend 5DTM. It's not the movie's only major flaw, the miniseries is constantly padded to fill its allotted running time, and the director goes insanely overboard on the choppy slow motion, often ruining any developing suspense or momentum. Had the miniseries been about forty-five minutes to an hour shorter, I might have said yes as a video rental, but unless if you've got lots of time to kill, this isn't rewarding enough to spend the time and money.
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Kept my eyes firmly glued to the screen
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews11 September 2009
I'm not kidding, this really hooked me; one could almost say that this ought to come with a warning, letting people know that this may very well grip them and their attention, and not let go until the final credits roll. From the first moments, this is interesting and engaging. The concept is not completely original, of course, but this is a good take on it, and I found myself surprised by most of the twists. This follows a physics professor trying to uncover the truth behind a police file that details his own murder, with the date being five days later. The plot keeps you watching, and there are unexpected developments that make sense. There's only one brief instance of obvious exposition, and apart from that, the story-telling is rather well-done. The cinematography and editing are great, with the one exception of the occasional "sluggish" time effect, which isn't always used well. This builds atmosphere and suspense well, and can be intense. It's exciting when it tries to be. The script is well-crafted and clever. Humor tends to be appropriate in tone and amount, though one person is pushed a little excessively as comic relief. The characters are well-written and credible. Dialog can be smart. The music is cool and fitting. Production design is excellent throughout. Special effects tend to look marvelous. The acting is convincing, every single performance, including the kid. Throughout, this is fairly well-done. The climax is well-done. It does, unfortunately, not completely live up to the incredible things that the audience imagines during the course of the show, but it wraps stuff up well. The DVD comes with trailers for this and three other things, as well as four informative and well-done featurettes. While I can't speak for any other version, the one I watched did not have nudity or language, and was in five episodes of about forty minutes each, so three hours and twenty is the full running time. I recommend this mini-series to any fan of science fiction-thrillers that deal with the idea of time and how set in stone the future is. Huh. The Sci-Fi Channel doesn't always suck. Before The Lost Room and this, I wouldn't have believed that to be possible. 7/10
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Great concept, interesting performances, but blande as poundcake
Terminal Madness11 June 2004
Timothy hutton plays physics professor JT Neumeyer who while visiting his wife's grave discovers a thin silver brief case.

He opens it and discovers a group of files showing pictures of his death and newspapers clippings.

First declaring this as a practical joke, the events in the files play out slowly and now convinced that he'll die in five days, tries to find a way to prevent himself from dying and must change his destiny.

The concept is great despite being a bit derivative, and there's plenty of room for tension, suspense, and great bits on philosophy, but the screenwriters miss their chances.

The cast is comprised mostly of second rate actors with the exception of Hutton who tries his best at the lead role but ultimately fails towards the end of the film as he manages to go way over the top with his emotional scenes.

There's also Randy quaid who is quite bland and one-dimensional, and Angus McFayden who is the worst of the characters as the over the top mob boss Roy Bremmer. Watch for his really bad scenes as he attempts to inflict depth into his character but comes off as laughable.

Meanwhile the story has the ability to inject tension and sense of immediacy but all of it is loss in the bogged down story. Rambling and droning at some points it's difficult to understand why this couldn't have been a two hour film instead of a four parter.

There's also plenty of room for philosophy and the concept of destiny and fate towards death, but there's nothing here as the story is mostly comprised of uneventful occurances, slim character development, and so much dialogue.

While the film is engrossing at the beginning, it's ultimately lost halfway through as the plot is segued into the benign plot featuring McFayden which takes away from the actual reason why we're watching.

"Stay tuned for the shocking last minutes to 5 Days to Midnight" the Sci-Fi channel boasts which never usually works on me but I was rather interested to see where this was developing. But, unfortunately it was all just hype. I was expecting that Neumeyer's daughter would accidentally shoot him causing his death, and that we never got to see who sent the briefcase, but it's all pretty much explained in the end and nothing of the sort happens.

I wanted an ironic, witty, and shocking ending beneath the muddled plot and droning dialogue, but alas we're not given anything but an obligatory and rather disappointing happy ending.

Decent performances, a great concept but falls apart halfway through becoming routine and cliche. The writers never give this story and concept a chance to spread its wings and just keep it down to mediocre level.

** out of **** stars.
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Great Mystery-Suspense Sci-Fi!
Enrique Sanchez10 June 2004
Kudos to SCI FI Channel for a great mini-series!

I enjoyed the four days of wonderful suspense and time-loops drove me crazy guessing. The Sci-Fi boards were abuzz with over 700 posts!

The whole concept of giving watchers the clues online to begin to make their guesses as to the ending was a brilliant touch of intelligence at work!

I won't give any endings away - but I will say that if you watch this you will not be sure until the very ending exactly how it ends.

Timothy Hutton was the star and he handled it with aplomb. The great supporting cast was headed by Randy Quaid and Kari Matchett. Hamish Linklater was wonderful as the manic Physics student as were Angus MacFadyen as the mobster and David McIlwraith as the brother-in-law.

But the major acting discovery was GAGE GOLIGHTLY as Hutton's daughter. She was marvelous in every scene she was in and stole the limelight from whomever was with her. Natural talent like that is to be appreciated. Not to mention her remarkable resemblance to the young Drew Barrymore. It would be interesting to see Drew Barrymore in a prequel-sequel of this mini-series - if she weren't probably overpriced for SCI FI channel?

All in all - we were kept on our seats for 4 wonderful days of suspense, trying to outguess the wonderful writers. Kudos to all of them!

I recommend this highly for mystery and suspense buffs. Not just Sci-Fi fans. It's a winner!
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Dumbest Ending Since "The Stand"
Donald Roy Airey11 June 2004
My overall reaction is that I feel like I completely wasted five hours of my life watching this miniseries. While there were a few red flags in the beginning, the writing seemed to be carrying the movie. First, the red flags: the director had an extremely annoying habit of throwing in slow motion in places where it was completely out of place. Actually, there's almost never a reason for slow motion. Directors and writers don't normally write "This scene is done in slow motion" into the script. If the action in the take appears to be incredibly lame during the editing, they'll try a slow motion effect before throwing the scene away. So the high frequency of slow motion shots is a give away that the director is a hack.

** Spoiler Ahead **

Other than the director's attempt to sabotage the movie, the writing was very good for the first 4 hours and 50 minutes. It wasn't typical Sci-Fi fare, but a seemingly well crafted murder mystery. The twist was that the victim was investigating his own murder. Not bad. But there was no mystery to the ending. It was the equivalent of having the cavalry ride in at the last minute, only dumber. There was no attempt to clean up the loose ends. No attempt to explain how the professor escaped his destiny. It might have been modestly satisfying if there was an attempt to explain how the future benefactor knew that a single bullet would be needed at the last moment.

Not since Steven King's "The Stand" was there a more disappointing ending to a promising story line.
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Timothy Hutton Surprised Me.
copygeek10 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert I'm not a big Timothy Hutton fan, but 5 Days to Midnight really impressed me with his performance.

The mini series which aired on Sci Fi Channel in the US, revolves around Physics Professor JT Neumeyer, whose wife died giving birth ten years ago to daughter Jesse Tracy Neumeyer, played exquisitely by Gage Golightly(who looks strikingly like Drew Barrymore). On the ten year anniversary of his wife's death (and daughter's birth) JT and Jesse visit the gravesite and find a sleek metal briefcase with JT's name on it.

Eventually, JT opens the case and finds a homicide case file with photos of him, dead with a bullet in his head. Initially, JT thinks this is a hoax created by a psychologically disturbed student in his class, Carl Axlerod. However, things start to happen exactly as the contents of the briefcase suggest, and JT realizes that his death by the end of the week may be unstoppable.

During the week, JT enlists the help of Police Detective Irwin Sikorski (played by the ever spectacular Randy Quaid)whose name was mentioned in the homicide file. Sikorski helps JT learn that his girlfriend, Claudia Whitney, is not who she says she is. Claudia is married to a Chicago crime lord, Roy Bremmer, who has tracked Claudia to Everett, Washington (the town where JT and Jesse live) where she fled to escape him. Meanwhile, it turns out that JT's brother in law, Brad Hume, a fellow professor at the college who lives a life of luxury, is going broke on bad stock picks and sees the metal briefcase that JT found as his ticket out of bankruptcy. The briefcase, it seems, is made of a futuristic composite of carbon nanotubes and if Brad can back-engineer it he could sell the patent rights for millions of dollars.

JT and Jesse attempt to flee the city to escape destiny, but things go awry, leaving JT to face the possibility that he will end up dead on the stage of the sleazy strip joint Buck Naked, just as the file predicts.

If this comes out on DVD, it would definitely be worth a rental, though I hope to purchase it if it is released.
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professor discovers he is murdered in 5 days(thanks to an anonymous tip from the future)
disdressed129 March 2007
i did'nt mind this mini series.for a TV science fiction movie,it's not half bad.it kept me interested through out,and even riveted at times.the acting is very good in this movie.i'm not sure how accurate the movie is from a physics point of view,but so what,i enjoyed it.the basic premise is that physics professor J.T.Neumeyer(Timothy Hutton) discovers that he is murdered in 5 days(thanks to an anonymous tip from the future.so he must try to figure out who the murderer is and try to prevent his own killing thereby altering his destiny and maybe that of others.the whole thing involves theoretical time travel(sort of)in the present and in the future.i have to say,the ending caught me completely by surprise.i wasn't expecting it at all.i honestly thought this was a well done mini series.i'd give '5 days to Midnite' 8/10
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Different Point Of View
jennifer13denise14 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this show. I never knew it existed until my friend brought it home from the video store. We just finished it and I had to share what I thought. THIS DOES INCLUDE SPOILERS!!

First of all, yes, the slow motion scenes sucked. Who needs to see a tree that many times and I didn't get why we had to watch the leaf blow into the door window at 'Mandy's' house.

Second, I loved the ending. Sure, it didn't explain how the folder changed to 'J.T.' living, but if you can't figure it out that he changed his future, so the file changed, get a clue.

Third, during the whole movie, I was thinking..Did he do it? Did she do it? Wait, maybe he did it. I love movies like that.

Fourth, Did anyone notice the dog before the movie explained it? It was the dog he almost hit, that belonged to Mandy. Coincidence? Of course not.

Fifth, Jesse from the future sent the file. That would make sense. She knew they would be there, and knew her father would figure it out.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes mystery until the end. Just fast forward through the slow motion shots, lol.

If I had to choose one thing I really didn't like, it would be that the DVD didn't explain things about the movie, like the dog. Or the many clocks.

Feel free to e-mail me if you wish. I love a good debate.
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Very clever and crafty.
Nick Damian10 July 2005
Wow, I'm amazed at how cool this film was. The entire construction of plot, character and general build is just amazing.

What I do not like about it is that the town is supposed to be Everett Washington, but is actually Vancouver, British Columbia.

While I think that the entire film is just awesome, the setting should have been Vancouver. It is just very obvious.

The buildings, streets, general layout all points to Vancouver...the train station, sky-train, buses and Chinatown/Gastown all reads Vancouver, so why not just call it Vancouver.

That aside, what a magnificent film, cast, crew and writers. I am really overwhelmed by the entire package, and yes...I knew who had sent the briefcase, but no...I was not expecting the murderer to be who it was, although I had a suspicion.

Very clever, very crafty.

It just comes to show, that there are still some creative heads in the film industry with original ideas.
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By the 5ifth day I was bored...
Andy (film-critic)17 March 2005
I thought that I had a better review for this mini-series, but it looks like I may have shut it away in the trash vault. So, for just this one I am going to give you the short, short version of what I witnessed. 5ive Days to Midnight was one of those classic mini-series that probably did very well while on television in keeping the suspense high and the anticipation even higher, but when it transferred onto DVD it didn't succeed as well. When one has the opportunity to watch this series from beginning to end within the course of one day, the excitement and momentum slowly decreases. Let me be more exact.

The first three episodes were great. It was this beautifully mixed bag of drama and sci-fi that I know the Sci-Fi channel has a firm grip on. It kept me guessing and wondering what would happen next. I couldn't quite figure out exactly how all the pieces were going to fit together and it was enjoyable, then you put the second disc in and watch the final two episodes and everything going for this film goes down the toilet. The final two episodes are nothing but filler and the ironically planned confusing ending. I felt that these final two episodes just did not react well with the first three, there seemed to be something genuinely missing from all of this. It was as if the creators had the horse running at full speed at first, then allowed it to gallop into the final lap. It lost momentum, speed, and thrill when the second disc hit my DVD player.

The acting was decent with Quaid proving why the "TV" niche is his best friend. Hutton could have done a bit better, portraying this struggling victim to this predestined crime, but instead I think he realized this was "television" and went with some sub-par skills. While the acting was just average all around, I was o.k. with that, it was the story that I was hoping to get most of my strength from. Sadly, the story was good, but not great. There were huge, gaping plot holes that just were never covered or corrected. When you are doing a time traveling film like this, you need this to make a coherent statement. It is like writing a paper without using any punctuation, you don't know where to stop or end and it ends up a jumbled mess. That is what happened with the final two episodes, the jumbled mess caught up to the creators and there was only one way to stop it … clichés and unoriginality.

Overall, I was impressed to begin this series, but by the end, I had lost it completely. The fourth day is nothing but filler, and that set the mood well off for the final day. What began as this very interesting time travel drama/murder/mystery eventually turned into a regular program that you could find on any station. Something happened, and as we the viewers may never know, those involved do. I suggest to everyone checking out the first disc while leaving the second behind. If you need to know how it ends, forget about it. The first three days will leave a better taste in your mouth than the final two days, and overall you will feel better (even if you don't know how it ends!)

Grade: *** out of *****
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Great Mini Series
donleo22-110 June 2004
I was hooked and just awaiting part 4. Timothy Hutton did a great job and Gage Golightly was just outstanding. (And she does resemble Drew Barrymore) She has talent! Very inspiring to see her with such great strength and intelligence. This character could be a role model for the adults! Hopefully will see her in other projects down the road if she so desires! Let's face it; this generated the buzz on the bulletin boards. I am just glad there are stories with plot lines that you can still see on TV. I'm not a fan on reality programming so good or bad, it is great to watch something that is rare on TV today. (Sad isn't it!) So my thanks to Sci Fi for bring new shows to the public. And on a final note; the music used on this series was great.
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Remember: It's Television
Rick Blaine14 November 2005
Yes, we watched enthralled; at least the last episodes. We felt it was too much special effects, all too moody music, and way too much time wasting melodrama. Knowing we had a four hour stretch to weary our way through, we took our time until we knew we were near the denouement, at which point we watched more closely and could then feel the excitement building.

But remember: it's television. Television is made in an entirely different way, no matter the artistic ambitions. This would never work in a watered down two hour format at the theatre - it just plays as television. If you're all right with television, fine; if television leaves you flat and wanting to see real cinema instead, this 'movie' will leave you flat too.

The device of this movie demands a 'conceit' - and a consequent suspension of disbelief - that you either buy into or else you won't like the whole thing much.

After a night of sleep we woke mostly feeling we'd wasted our time. It's not so much the movie makers' fault - remember: it's television.
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The most fundamental questions not answered (Spoiler!)
hdmail13 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Timothy Hutton gives another unexpected brilliant television performance on the par of his portrayal of Archie Goodwin in the A&E productions of the Nero Wolfe mysteries. Further he is reunited here with Kari Matchett (one of the ensemble players of that series), who deftly tunes her character between utter trustworthiness and blatant suspect without upsetting the delicate balance of suspense. The other key players also deliver masterful, convincing performances, particularly Gage Golightly, who steals every scene she's in and leaves us loving it.

The cinematography, especially the frequent use of slow-motion and delay-action, is meant to add to the suspense but winds up feeling a bit silly and overplayed.

Also, the frequent product-placements (the gift of Playstation 2, the insurance receptionist's salad and drink from McDonald's, the Mountain Dew can in Carl's apartment, the rental car agent's perky emoting of, "And you'll be putting that on your Visa?", the Eclipse gum display at the airport kiosk, et cetera ad infinitum) tend to tear the viewer out of the story in amusement - we're more interested in seeing which of the sponsors' products are going to show up next than we are in watching for clues.

Spoiler ahead:

Allowing for all of the occurrences that lead up to the climax/denouement of the story is all well and good, but the primary questions: "What is a college professor, not in the habit of frequenting such establishments, doing in a strip club at 3:55 am?" and "Who, at that time, wants him dead, and why?" are never resolved.

Obviously, by the fifth day, the reason he is there is to solve the mystery, but the mystery as it originally appeared for him to solve is never explained.

The first four hours of the miniseries were intriguing and curiosity-provoking, but the final hour was unsatisfying from a physics or even a science-fiction standpoint, and cheesily derivative of "Back to the Future" from an entertainment standpoint. From either standpoint, the final hour is condescending to the viewer, and in my opinion cheapened the overall impact of the story.
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The Ultimate Movie Review! - http://tss5078.blogspot.com - @tss5078
Tss507826 October 2014
Professor J.T. Neumeyer (Timothy Hutton) and his daughter have never fully recovered from the loss of their wife/mother, but try to live a simple life of solitude in suburban Seattle. After 10 years, J.T. is finally seeing a women, who he really likes, and things seem to be going good for the family, until a mysterious briefcase shows up. J.T. opens the case only to find an old police report, dated five days in the future. The file is an unsolved murder case in which the victim is Professor J.T. Neumeyer.

5ive Days To Midnight was a very unique and entertaining story, but for some reason, it was given to the SyFy channel and turned into a four part mini-series, rather than a movie. It's problematic, because to fill the extra time, they have to come up with a lot of side stories that never fully resolve themselves. Sometimes with Science Fiction, things are never resolved, because they simply can't be explained and I'm okay with that, but simple things that can be resolved should be, otherwise the story leaves more questions than it answers. That is the case with 5ive Days To Midnight, it's really well written and has an outstanding cast, but being that it's four hours long, there wasn't any reason to leave parts of the story unfinished. The conclusion was therefore the best and worst part of the whole thing. The ending was fast paced and exciting, real edge of your seat type stuff, but as soon as it was over, there was a small two minute conversation, and then that was it. With all the time the writers spent on the back story and the introduction to the characters, to just leave us with a story that basically just abruptly ends, was defiantly disappointing to me.

What doesn't disappoint is the other three hours and forty-five minutes of this mini-series. I find that with mini-series, a lot of times the description and preview are actually better than anything else, but that's not the case here. This is a well written mystery, with some great action sequences, mixed with Science Fiction, and there is even a mob element to the whole thing. Timothy Hutton stars as the professor and gives the performance of a life time. How does one investigate their own murder and protect their ten year old daughter at the same time? His character was in a unique situation that really came off well. The whole package is outstanding, which is why the disappointing ending really bothers me more than it probably should.
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once I figured out what was going on with the discs, I was OK
blanche-213 September 2012
After a fashion, I really enjoyed this miniseries from 2004, "Five Days to Midnight," starring Timothy Hutton, Randy Quaid, Kari Matchett, Hamish Linklater, Angus Macfayden, and Gage Golightly.

Hutton plays physics professor J.T. Neumeyer who, while visiting his wife's grave on the anniversary of her death, finds a briefcase with his name on it. Inside are news clippings that talk about his death five days from now. At first, he thinks it's a joke but ultimately believes it was sent by his brilliant but eccentric student Carl (Linklater) and perhaps is not a joke. With an 11-year-old daughter to care for, Neumeyer isn't about to go down without a fight.

Complications abound, including a secret his girlfriend (Matchett) has been keeping, and his brother-in-law's financial difficulties. Then there's the implication of actually changing the future - which Carl warns him can't happen.

Quantum physics is extremely interesting to me -- parallel universes and the like, time travel - unfortunately, there was not as much emphasis on this in the plot; instead, the focus seemed to be on making it into a detective story. Less interesting.

My big problem was the way the discs were set up. I watched the first disc, returned it to Netflix, got the second, and immediately realized I hadn't seen one episode. I found out I wasn't the only one this happened to - the discs separate the episodes, one hour each, rather than one episode, two hours.

Timothy Huttton was excellent, and all the acting was good - Hamish Linklater is always wonderful -- and all of the acting is good. Because of Hutton, you really get involved in the story and in this man's plight.

If you watch this, you'll have questions - there is an excellent post on the message board that explains it all.

Can we change the future, and if we do, what are the implications? Are the past, the present, and the future occurring at the same time? If we try to change it, are we doomed to the same fate even if the circumstances change? Movies have been asking these questions for years. "Five Days to Midnight" also deals with the future sending us messages. It's all fascinating -- I just wish there had been more of it.
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Good but seriously flawed.
tom_jeffords11 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS! Five Days to Midnight is really, really good. It really is. But it is seriously flawed. The basic story is widowed college professor finds briefcase from the future containing police file of his murder five days hence. Overall it is well done. Superb direction, photography, acting (with the exception of the way over the top performance of Angus Macfayden as a mobster). The problems I had are several. 1) It doesn't address the grandfather paradox of time travel, especially after the professor changes the future the contents of the briefcase change (cute in Back to the Future, dumb here), 2) The required happy ending quite frankly falls down. 3) The miniseries is ridiculously over-padded and could have been told in half the time. Still overall I liked it and it is nice to see the Sci-Fi Channel actually using imagination and originality, not their strong point.
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Lord_Povic20 October 2004
Well done I had gone to the local video store to do a exchange because the night before we got Once upon a time in Mexico and trust me I don't return movies unless they really suck.Anyway I asked about 5 Days to midnight and the clerk said well it was not renting too good but what the heel I took it anyway and we were really surprised even though it was in 4 parts but at that my wife and I watched the first 2 and went to bed the first thing in the morning she says coffee is on I'm taking our daughter to school and you can walk the dog and then we can finish the movie.And I'm glad I took a chance I would have to say this film kept us thinking right up until the end,I hope Lions gate has more of that suspenseful talent lurking around at their studios in the future.Thanks for a great film.
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Captivating, fantastic mini series!!
Robert W.5 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes not having the parameters of a Hollywood film can make Television the best outlet for a brilliant film. Sure it might not have the special effects, stunts, even big names but you can see some really unique talent, and a strong story that is enthralling. Five Days Till Midnight is an edge of your seat murder mystery that combines some truly great performances with a even better storyline. Clocking in at 3 1/2 hours (another thing a Hollywood film could never accomplish) you would never know it. The film is over in a blink and you want more because it was so good. It's non-stop and so incredibly written by Robert Zappia (Halloween H20), David Aaron Cohen (The Devil's Own), Anthony Peckham (Don't Say A Word), and Cindy Myers.

Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton leads the cast as Professor JT Neumeyer. Devastated by the loss of his wife, and deeply protective and loving of his beautiful daughter Jesse, he seems to finally be putting the pieces of his life back together including a new woman in his life. Hutton is intense, emotional, strong, a great leading man for this role. He also portrays brilliance and devotion to his daughter and you really feel for his character. He absolutely should have at least gotten an Emmy nod out of this. Randy Quaid is equally as brilliant as tough as nails Homicide detective Irwin Sikorski. Quaid's character seems a little dark, sinister and yet dedicated to his job and the people he serves. This is one of Quaid's best roles and certainly one of his most dramatic. He plays the role to the fullest. Kari Matchett plays Hutton's new love interest with a mysterious past Claudia Whitney. TV Fans will recognize Matchett from the sadly canceled Invasion. Matchett and Hutton make a good couple and I don't think Matchett is quite likable enough for the role but she does alright. Hamish Linklater plays the slightly disturbed but incredibly brilliant Carl Axelrod. His unbalanced performance is small but effective and he's great at it. Angus Macfadyen is the brutal mobster Roy Bremmer. I think Bremmer's role could have been bigger but the scenes he was in were very effective. He comes across as adequately evil and is the perfect bad guy but also the perfect scape goat for the murder mystery at hand. And last but certainly not least is the incredible performance by young Gage Golightly as Hutton's daughter Jesse. First of all Golightly has a striking resemblance to a young Drew Barrymore and equally charismatic on screen. Her role as Jesse is NOT a typical "kid" role and instead she is utilized to the fullest in the role. She's smart, and important to the story and she does such an incredible job. This should have been her claim to fame and rocketed her into bigger and better things and I'm sure she'll surface again in the future.

Veteran TV director Michael W. Watkins does an incredible job setting up suspense and clues and an intriguing time travel type storyline without complicating things. Some would say it's almost too simplistic. For instance why doesn't any of the evidence change as J.T. changes the time-line?? Still it doesn't matter because everything fits together so perfectly and it's simplicity makes it so watchable. The characters are all so real and you just get brought into this twisted world of this seemingly normal, rather boring professor's life. Even when the film is over you'll have questions in your mind, and plenty to discuss, it's the ultimate water cooler film. This is a real treat and a hidden gem for sure. I think it's one of my favorites. 9/10
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Very disappointing mini-series
chrichtonsworld30 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This mini-series has quite some good moments. Some of the ideas are interesting and promising. The concept reminded me of "D.O.A." with Dennis Quaid. Sadly this show has got nothing in common with that wonderful movie. The murder mystery is not as exciting as I hoped it to be. The "changing the future theme" does add some depth to the mystery. And is the main reason why this show is interesting enough. If this concept hadn't been in this show than I wouldn't even had bothered watching this. When this concept presents itself you want to know how and why it is possible. Preventing death of the main character was something that didn't seem to matter much to me. The idea to give somebody a way to do it was more intriguing. The much anticipated climax is therefore completely unsatisfying. No decent or reasonable explanation is given of events. The loose ends don't get tied up. And the big question (the time travel concept) doesn't get answered at all. Maybe I could have forgiven the ending if the show had more to offer. A show with a premise like this has to have more twists and turns than it did. Or more comic relief or action to offer some light entertainment. At least something that would have taken my mind of the initial mystery. But the slow pace and lack of real suspense kills of everything that could have made the show really thrilling. The only thing that deserves special mention is the way they portrayed the relationship between the father (Timothy Hutton) and daughter (Gage Golightly; dead ringer for Drew Barrymore when she was little). It was very nice to see. Other than this there is nothing worth watching. Avoid this!
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Sweet_yusrah27 July 2006
Hi, Me too have watched "5 JOURS POUR SURVIVRE' but did not fully understand the last past...can u explain me the last part Please...You can send your comment through mail..my email id is Sweet_yusrah@yahoo.ca. Waiting for you to contact me. Can you tell me what happened to Claudia husband and how was the professor save? And also who did all this? I mean planning their death. Is it Claudia, her husband or who? I am very eager to know all this things. Well, it was a great film, i just love it. It was fabulous!

OK thanks

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Another film mention inside the show SPOILER
tomer_israeli14 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Someone in this forum gave this film 3 out of 5 after explaining why the first three eps are awesome while the other two are not. I thought that was cute.

Also, a lot of people have been talking about certain hints of interrelated movies, etc. I love it when it happens. When different movies, shows and actors are interrelated. Sometimes it's by mistake. Other times it's specific clues embedded.

I didn't find any connection between The Bedroom Window (starring Steve Gutenberg) and 5ive Days, but I won't be surprised any of you would. And I'll tell you why. But this post includes a significant 5ive Days spoiler from the third ep, and a very slight spoiler from Bedroom Window (that won't ruin the movie for you).

There is a scene in which Steve Gutenberg is following a person who he suspects as a serial rapist and murderer. He follows him to a club, and they both stand on two different ends of the place, each trying to blend in. In the center there is a girl who is acting very seductively. She dances with all the guys, etc, acting very sexually. She has the same bracelets on her arm as Mandy Murphy from 5ive Days.

In a later scene, Steve Guttenberg notices that near this club there is a big commotion. It's a crime scene. The cops are taking a body out of the place. They accidentally get the stretcher out of balance and the victim's right arm is falling off the sheet, just hanging. Again, we see the bracelets.

Hutton in 5ive Days and Guttenberg in Bedroom Window both connected the body under the sheet with a person they met earlier. Hutton also verified that it actually was the person he thought it was. Guttenberg didn't have to. Anyway, I can't believe it was a coincidence. No way! Same friggin scene! A body under a sheet, on a stretcher, with about five hundred tons of bracelets on the right arm.
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