TL;DR – A competent film from first-time filmmakers that shows that struggles of trying to start your life again
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
All filmmakers have to start somewhere, a place where they can get their feet wet, practice their crafts, and work on telling stories. Today we are looking at a film from John Mathis & Jared Sprouse, which is the first feature film from them as both directors and writers, and it is clear this was a bit of a passion project. However, like all first-time filmmakers, while there is a promise, there is also room from improvement.
So to set the scene, Ian (Ben Weinswig) arrives at his Aunt Renee’s (Dawn O’Donoghue) house to come live. While we don’t know what happened in his past life, it is clear from the way people act that something significant happened with him and his parents. Ian is trying to stay out of trouble and restart his life, however, life is not fair and he gets drawn back into a world of violence where you can’t go to the cops because they are in on it.
not all of the film works, there are some moments that make it stand out. While
the film is focusing on Ian and his story it works really well. I think part of
that is that Ben Weinswig is a quite compelling actor so he brings chemistry to
the role even when it is not quite working in other contexts. This is helped by
narration from his perspective at the start of the film that really situates
the conflict. As well as this, everything is really well lit, with the
filmmakers using techniques like coloured lights to make contrasts more
However, there are a number of areas where the film just didn’t quite work, and I think many of these points are possibly due to the small budget they had to work with. From a story perspective, it just felt odd that he would be immediately dragged into this world again with people he only met yesterday. If he was coming back home, it would have made sense, but here it is just jarring. I think this is also exemplified by the lack of any real connecting tissue when it comes to the story. Most of the cast are either one-note characters, or they exist with only a couple of features to hang on. Like Terry (Noah Crandell) who is the obligatory person who likes film cameras and art-house cinemas. This becomes a problem because of the film’s content is dealing with casual violence, including several instances of domestic abuse, so this lack of characterisation really affects the tone and dialogue. Thus the dialogue becomes the weakest part of the film, which is not good for a drama.
In the end, do we recommend Midnight Runner? Well, if you are interested in seeing a filmmaker’s first work, then I think there is a lot to see here that might interest you. If you are just looking forward to watching a film for a bit, then I think the issues with the story make this a maybe not.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Midnight Runner
Directed by – John Mathis & Jared Sprouse
Written by – John Mathis & Jared Sprouse
Music by – Jason Obermeier
Cinematography by – John Mathis
Edited by – Jared Sprouse
Production/Distribution Companies –Global Digital Releasing
Starring – Ben Weinswig, Mekhai Lee, Julia Crytser, Noah Crandell, Tavis L. Baker, Dylan Bougis, Tris Orin, Art Parsells, Connor Mull, Colby Joyner, Dawn O’Donoghue, Boris ‘Bluz’ Rogers, Dawn Giovanni, Rachel Shoemaker & Jahseyne Eccleston
Rating – Around an Australia: MA15+;