It’s 11:37 pm
Was out and about doing some Dollar Tree Theater hunting and stumbled across “Midnight Clear”which released in 2006. I read the back of the DVD which describes the story of how five people are changed through small interactions on Christmas’s Eve.
The cast was pretty much unknown except for Stephen Baldwin but I thought for a buck,why not? I mean,that is what Dollar Tree Theater is all about,finding small indie films and taking a chance.
Midnight Clear was written by Jerry Jenkins of the Left Behind series so you already know this will be a faith based film. The cheetah and I have actually watched a few of these and even review one which you can by clicking on the link here.
Generally the rule for “Christian” films is the same for horror films,the bigger the film,the less scares. As for faith films,the bigger the studio and “name” cast,the weaker the movie.
Which is why director Dallas Jenkins film works here on most levels. Using such relative unknowns allows the story to unfold more fluidly and natural. The connections between the five are gentle and subtle but make a impact.
Baldwin is the “name” and his Lefty is both sad and desperate. Involved in a bitter custody case,his renewed drinking has just cost him his job and any hope of seeing his kids anytime soon..his travels will lead him to cross paths with Kirk,a lonely man who gambled buying a gas station on the outskirts of town. Kirk had hoped that the city would grow out towards him which would raise the value of the land,it didn’t and he is stuck “out in the middle of nowhere”.
Kirk then meets Mary who is struggling in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy that has shaken her to her soul and is trying to stay strong for her son Jacob. Mary has just left the hospital and talking with Mitch,a youth pastor who is unsure of his path and senses hopelessness in making any kind of difference in his ministry,including taking his youth group Christmas caroling.
When Mitch meets Eva,a senior citizen…he realizes that maybe he can make a difference yet…
I thought the cast was great and Baldwin was a pleasant surprise as Lefty. He played it straight yet still managed to inject a little humor into performance. You see that despite his terrible choices,he still has a heart that wants to do the right thing
But the real surprise was actress Mary Thornton Brown who played Mary. Her performance as a woman caught in a terrible situation unable to move in any direction rang true. She loves her husband but he can’t return her love and it isn’t clear if he ever will. When Kirk and Mary meet,the loneliness almost becomes mistaken for attractiveness and leaves you wondering about their future..
The script is good,there isn’t any heavy handed preaching,Jenkins allows to story to tell itself over the day. Nothing seems rushed and most importantly,he doesn’t have a Hollywood ending. Not a bad start for a first time director!
He currently has just released “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone” which looks to be a bigger budgeted film,just hope it isn’t a typical studio driven bloated mess.
The DVD has some nice Bonus features,a Making Of short,a music video and more.
The film checks in at 103 minutes. It’s rated PG-13 but is suitable for anyone over 12.
All in all,the cheetah and I recommend this and give it a paw/thumbs up!!!
Thank you for reading and please feel free to drop a comment below!