Home Before MidnightOverview -
A successful rock lyricist becomes romantically involved with a girl he picks up hitchhiking only to learn that she is only fourteen. Her parents take action against him.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Pete Walker's 'Home Before Midnight' is a very different film for him. As we have come to realize, Pete Walker is in the horror and gore business. With films like The Comeback', 'Die Screaming, Marianne', 'House of the Whipcord', and 'Schizo', Walker is known for his gory horror movies. But back in 1978, Walker set aside the blood and guts and made this dramatic court room film called 'Home Before Midnight' that touched on some taboo subjects as well as the late 1970's music scene.
The taboo subject in question is statutory rape and Walker almost makes you feel perverse for even watching this film, as a lot of his camera angles are made to look as if you are spying in on a couple consisting of an older man and a very young girl. Needless to say, there are a few awkward moments throughout the film as Walker explores a man and a young girl's sexuality. But it's interesting that Walker took this odd transition into a court room drama. This director is known for pushing the bounds as far as horror, and as he entered into 'Home Before Midnight', he came in guns blazing, but in the second half, we are taken to a courtroom where we are to decide who is at fault here and who is to be punished.
A young woman named Ginny (Alison Elliot) and her promiscuous friend Carol (Debbie Linden) are out on the town where Carol is always trying to convince Ginny to flirt and get with guys. Ginny seems a little uncomfortable most of the time. But the real story begins with Ginny hitchhiking on the side of a road when a man by the name of Mike (James Aubrey) pulls up and offers her a ride. Ginny is hesitant at first, being she about to hitchhike into a guy's car. And even after Mike delivers an awkward rape joke, Ginny still gets in the car. Come to find out, Mike is a songwriter for the popular rock band Bad Accident and is pushing 30 years of age.
Mike and Ginny hit it off fairly quickly. The two become attracted to each other and sex soon follows. As their relationship grows, so does their sex life and every part of each other's bodies are explored. But Mike finds out that Ginny is actually only 14 years old. He's disgusted and horrified at the realization, but he is not ready to leave the relationship, and instead he and Ginny keep it going. But Ginny's parents find out about it and they try to convince Ginny to confess to rape charges. And not only that, they try to brainwash her into telling the press and court that this was one-sided with tons of violence, which is not the case here.
Well soon enough, the press picks up on the story and Mike's life is turned upside down. His friends and band mates turn their back on him, not for doing the deed, but because it could hurt their own careers. As this story gets into the courtroom, Walker makes Mike look like the good guy here, while making Ginny look like a villain, as her parents have coerced her into saying untrue things about their relationship.
It seems that Walker abandoned some good story lines in order to focus more on a punishment fit for Mike. He could have dove in head first and explored what made Ginny and Mike make these decisions, and why Mike continued to pursue Ginny, but that plot point goes nowhere. Instead, Walker centers his attention on the consequences of his actions and less on the whole love and sexuality of the story, which is kind of a letdown.
'Home Before Midnight' comes with a rough 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio. It doesn't seem like a lot of clean up was done on this transfer as there are still tons of dirt, debris, and damage seen throughout the film. The image as a whole is very soft with out a lot of fine detail to go around. The image looks quite flat and fuzzy at certain moments too. Closeups do look a little better, but not by much.
The crispness usually comes with the props and actual sets here rather than the actors. Just don't expect a very crystal clear or vivid image. The colors however do look very good and have been saturated very well with some good neon coloring throughout. Black levels run somewhat deep and inky and the skin tones look mostly natural. There are various problems with the image here, including banding, aliasing, video noise, and some ghosting. I wish this had a better video presentation.
This release comes with a 2.0 LPCM audio mix and doesn't do the job it should. Dialogue isn't always clear and at some moments, it's rather hard to follow. There are plenty of pops, cracks, and hissing to go around too. When the score crescendos into the high range, it sounds screechy as if the volume wasn't handled right on this soundtrack. The sound effects and ambient noises aren't balanced well either as if each layer of sound was turned to the fullest for one loud overbearing noise. I'm not say that this audio mix is terrible to listen to, it is just aggravating.
Interview (HD, 11 mins.) - This is definitely a strange interview, much like the film. Pete Walker himself talks about making the movie and admits that he wasn't the right person for the job, but still defends and stand by his choice and work. He talks about how a lot of people said negative things about him and the film after it came out as well, and he seems to not know what happened to his actress Debbie Linden.
Trailer (2 mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'Home Before Midnight' starts off very well, but it's transition into a court room drama, leaving some of the good and meaty story lines behind was a bad choice. This is not your typical Pete Walker film. There is no blood or guts in this one, but rather a sad and dark tale of forbidden love and punishment. The video and audio presentations are not by any means at a level of acceptance, and the sole extra is decent but odd. Unless you're a big fan of Pete Walker, I'd say this is a rental at best.
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