Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I love this movie.
It's funny, cynical, and a nifty spine-tingler. It's also very European with good reason, it was made in Germany. It doesn't reflect an American sense of humor. Its wit is lost on many.
It’s got nice a gritty quality, with moody evocative night filming making a fine point from which to view it. It isn’t a lighthearted comedic venture, but it has its moments.
Speaking of visuals, the cop shop workplace is pretty good too.
The core of the story has to do with the horrifying accidental wounding/disabling of a young child during an attempt to arrest a major drug dealer by the lead character, Inspector Alex Glass, played brilliantly by Armin Mueller-Stahl, a man in wretched condition as the story opens.
He is sleepless, rumpled, irritable, and lacking in any kind of hope. All his life is sour, and he is being beaten down by the one terrible event of his existence, that has caused him to nearly lose himself.
Music is one of his few outlets.
Then, there's the job.
He has a new assistant, Shirley May, played wonderfully by Julia Kent, and a concerned friend, the District Attorney, played by Michael York.
Alex is a man quietly thinking out the case, as it escalates into a surreal nightmare, with nude bodies being found, abandoned, and smeared with grease; a profoundly obscure touch, which because of its very oddness causes a chill of disgust and discomfort. We know we’re not in Kansas anymore. A dark thinker is afoot, and his victims are giving no clue as to his identity.
Concurrently, Inspector Glass is also engaged in impossible attempts to break through the wall erected by his vengeful ex wife, between him and his daughter. He begins to unfold, and display himself for us: A sleepless man who spends nights tossing in bed while the neighbor on the other side of the wall has gleefully noisy sex. His answer is to pound futilely on the wall until he is called a pervert. It brings out the sneaky voyeur in me, making me wish I could see through plaster and paint to watch the couple wallow in sybaritic splendor. (see note*)
In trying to hold himself together, he finds more strings of himself unraveling until eventually he becomes involved with Lisa, played by Morgan Fairchild, an apparent bimbo, who manages to become another drop of the glue of life that keeps him from disintegrating entirely.
I was not impressed by Morgan Fairchild the first time I watched the movie. Like most others making hard comments, I thought she was an absurd choice. That is, until I thought it over for a while.
It dawned on me, she was perfect for the role; when she threw her head back and laughed in one scene with Mr. Mueller-Stahl, I fell in love with the character, and with the actress. She was funny, sexy and pretty as Lisa; and she was brave. Good for her!
Alex is older than she. So what? We should all be so magnetic and well-preserved as we grow older. They're a rather odd couple. This does nothing but lend a spicy, amusing and rather sweet atmosphere to a very gruesome and sometimes terribly sad tale.
Frank Stallone as the villain, makes me wonder how on earth the kid brother got so famous, and eclipsed him. I loved Frank as Eddie, the pugilistic, hot pistol ladies-man bartender in Barfly. Sly couldn’t have done that part with Frank’s panache. Sly gets kudos, Frank gets too short a role in Midnight Cop.
The way the cookie crumbles I guess. There ain’t no justice.
This is a movie that cries to be viewed with a sense of humor, and a little stretch of the mind, because it isn't for dummies.
It's a spoof on American cop pictures, where the hero never misses, and sex as audience bait, takes the place of acting.
Yes, there's sex in it, and most of it is hilarious. However, there's never a glimpse of action on-screen. That's a nice change from all the sweating and heaving that goes on here in the U.S. for the purpose of keeping our limited attention on the movie.
There is nudity, but unless you're into necrophilia, it's not going to tweak you.
While the story deals with a serial killer doing his thing, it isn't full of gore and splattered brains. In fact it's an excellent flick, in part, due to what you don't see.
Three great points:
Armin Mueller-Stahl stuffing a lettuce leaf into his pocket.
Armin Mueller-Stahl’s underwear.
A beautiful rendition of A Lighter Shade of Pale, which opens the film.
See this movie. And use your brain. Have no expectation, either good or bad, and you'll be pleasantly surprised!
*note: “wallow in sybaritic splendor”, swiped from the online dictionary. Thought it was overblown and funny.
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