It’s a daunting situation watching the third installment of a story before seeing the first two parts, but I felt that writers Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Richard Linklater would handle the project responsibly, and they certainly with.
Having met nearly years ago Jesse (Hawke) and Celene (Delpy) are now living in Greece together with their twin daughters. No longer young lovers, these fortysomethings have reached that point in a relationship where everything just slots into place, everything is just perfect… Or is it?
Before Midnight is a beautifully shot film that is made all the more beautiful by the fantastically performed dialogue between both leads in a single shot. Rarely has any movie ever framed two characters and held them together in one frame for so long. From a drive from the airport to their home, to a walk through the country and into a town the camera follows these couples and their intricate dialogue intently. If there were cuts in the action it’s impossible to see where. The chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is utterly compelling, is it should be for a pair of actors who pick up with their characters every few years and just carry on with them, like no time has past. It’s a bit like the ITV 7 Up documentary series, they way it picks up with these two characters with years of missing story in between.
The balance is also very well done, the first half of the script is filled with well written wit, that bouncing beautifully against this single shot pieces. The second half of the script takes things in a different realm however, that humourous dialogue is all but gone, things get a lot more real, a lot more unpleasant, those things that used to make them laugh now make them want to kill the other.
If you have not had the pleasure of the first two movies, it makes you want to go and see them more or less straight away, but as I said they are not a prerequisite, you can waltz into this movie and very quickly feel at home.
Unusually when I attended a preview screening of this movie earlier on this month, the reviewing audience did something quite strange, they clapped, a true sign of the appeal of this movie.
Before Midnight is in UK cinemas now.