Review: ‘Midnight Edition’

"Midnight Edition," the fact-inspired tale of a reporter who becomes enthralled with a death-row killer, is marred by pacing and continuity problems. Downright confusing indie production should do OK at fests and on video but might see its prospects improve via judicious re-editing.

“Midnight Edition,” the fact-inspired tale of a reporter who becomes enthralled with a death-row killer, is marred by pacing and continuity problems. Downright confusing indie production should do OK at fests and on video but might see its prospects improve via judicious re-editing.

Pic displays good intentions and often inventive lensing but fails to build or sustain a plausible mood.

After two years away from his wife and daughter, semi-defeated newspaper reporter Jack Travers (Will Patton) returns to a tiny Georgia town just in time for some sensational local murders. Violence is tastefully and chillingly portrayed, as 19-year-old Darryl Weston (Michael DeLuise) slaughters a family in cold blood.

Charismatic Gary Gilmore wannabe Weston is caught, tried and sentenced to die in the electric chair, prompting Travers to conduct a series of interviews with the charming felon. After resulting profiles create a stir, spotlight-hungry Travers spends most of his time at the prison, increasingly drawn in by his menacing and manipulative subject. To the detriment of his recently rekindled professional and personal relationships, Patton oversteps journalistic bounds and begins helping the convict.

In a poorly developed digression, muddled elements of an apparently unrelated murder fuel mutual animosity between Travers and a black cop.

Although scattered scenes ring true, human interactions tend to be all over the map. DeLuise puts the right spin on the evil hunk, and Sarabeth Tucek scores as his groupie Becky, but direction of other characters, particularly Travers and his wife (Clare Wren), is frustratingly uneven. Travers’ co-workers at the paper run hot and cold without sufficient explanation.

Tech crew gets a lot of visual bang for low bucks on Georgia locations, with prison set a convincing plus.

Midnight Edition

Production

A Shapiro Glickenhaus Entertainment presentation of a Libov/Epstein production. Produced by Ehud Epstein, Jonathan Cordish. Directed by Howard Libov. Screenplay, Michael Stewart, Yuri Zeltser, Libov, based on the autobiography "Escape of My Dead Man" by Charles Postell.

Crew

Camera (color), Alik Sakharov; editor, Yosef Grunfeld; music, Murray Attaway; production design, Guy Tuttle; costume design, Mary-An Ceo; sound, Palmer Norris; associate producer/assistant director, Eric Mofford; casting, Pagano/Bialy/Manwiller, Ann Mongan. Reviewed at Chicago Intl. Film Festival, Oct. 19, 1993. (Also in Hamptons Film Festival.) Running time: 97 min.

With

Jack Travers - Will Patton
Darryl Weston - Michael DeLuise
Sarah Travers - Clare Wren
Becky - Sarabeth Tucek
Maggie - Nancy Moore Atchinson
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