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Before Midnight DVD Review

Before Midnight DVD

As of today, “Before Midnight” is the best film of 2013.

“Before Midnight” begins with Jesse (now a novelist) dropping his son Hank off at the airport. Hank, who was visiting with the married Jesse and Celine for the summer in Greece, is headed back to Chicago where he lives with Jesse’s ex-mother. After seeing his son off, a rather gloomy Jesse returns to the car where Celine and his twin daughters are waiting for him. The three then set off to visit with friends where they engage in many profound adult conversations. Shortly thereafter, Jesse and Celine’s friends book the couple a hotel for some much needed alone time. Unfortunately, this romantic night doesn’t turn out as planned as the two begin to air out their frustrations amidst heated arguments.

It took 9 years for the “Before Sunrise” follow-up“Before Sunset” to come out and it took another 9 years to see the third installment “Before Midnight.” One might think that something may have been lost in this hiatus, but writer/director Richard Linklater, actor/writer Ethan Hawke, and actress/writer Julie Delpy effortlessly bring these characters to life once again.

As mentioned above, Jesse and Celine are now a married couple, but don’t expect them to be happily in love. Jesse is having thoughts about wanting to live near his son while Celine wants to pursue a career of her own after essentially putting her life on hold for Jesse. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but I don’t want to give away too much. “Before Midnight” is the type of film that is best seen knowing as little as possible (especially if you are a fan of the first two installments). Now, that’s not to say there’s a lot of plot or “action” to be spoiled because there isn’t. ‘Midnight’ is very much a dialogue and character driven piece. What makes ‘Midnight’ (and ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Sunset’ for that matter) so rewarding is that we as an audience have journeyed through Jesse and Celine’s lives and have witnessed their ups and downs. We see their funny, honest, and loving relationship grow before our very eyes, but we also see that their relationship is far from perfect (as evidenced by the final half hour of ‘Midnight’). Unlike your typical watered down Hollywood fairy tale romance, the three ‘Before’ films feel very real, rich, and layered which is what makes these films so refreshing and fascinating.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1. How does it look? From the airport to the Greece locals, this is a sharp looking transfer. It should be noted that this title is available on Blu-ray.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? Good! I have no complaints about this track. ‘Midnight is a very dialogue centric movie and this track handles the dialogue well.

Extras:
* Ultraviolet digital copy.
* Sony trailers and a theatrical trailer for “Before Midnight.”
* Film critic Elvis Mitchell narrates this 37 minute Q&A With Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater. The group chats about the production, the cast, behind-the-scenes stories, Jesse and Celine, etc.
* “Revisiting Jesse and Celine” contains set footage, cast and crew interviews, discussions about the characters, the trilogy, writing, and much more.
* Commentary by Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater. Personally, I think the Q&A and the featurette were much more lively and informative than this commentary.

Overall Thoughts: I’ve watched Jesse and Celine bond and grow over 3 films and I could certainly watch 3 or more films with these characters. Hopefully, this is not the last film in this series as “Before Midnight” proves there is much left to explore with these characters. Highly recommended.

October 24, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , ,

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