Midnight Express

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A meaty anecdote, heavily fictionalised from a factual source, about an American kid on a dope charge going through Hell in a Turkish jail. Some of the performances (Hurt, Davis) give it an illusion of depth, but it's mostly expert in avoiding moral resonance and ambiguity: everything is satisfyingly clear-cut, just as every shot and every cut are geared to instant emotional impact. Political, moral and aesthetic problems arise when you try to superimpose the film on the 'truth' it purports to represent. As a head-banging thriller, though, it makes some of Hollywood's hoariest stereotypes seem good as new, and it panders to its audience's worst instincts magnificently.

By: TR

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