Idiosyncratic helmer Werner Schroeter’s “Tonight” is about as impenetrable as a film can get while still retaining a semblance of narrative construction. It’s easy to follow the protag attempting to secure passage out of a city about to be invaded, but the proliferation of baroque characters, bizarre asides and a scene bordering on kiddie porn turns Schroeter’s normally intriguing, operatic visions into a head-scratching, tedious exercise. Despite slots at two major fests, pic is unlikely to find champions among programmers, let alone auds.
An early shot of nighttime Porto (as the fictional city of Santa Maria) holds out the promise of engrossing visuals, but even here the ultimately theatrical flatness remains either too artificial or not stylized enough. Ossorio (Pascal Greggory) searches for his lover on the eve of invasion, trying to secure tickets on the sole rescue ship in the harbor. He finally gets two from the besieged Barcala (Sami Frey), whose daughter, Victoria (Laura Martin), encounters Ossorio at a very Lynchian hotel. The controlled sense of chaos emasculates any tension, and any ruminations on human behavior during war are lost among the grab bag of ideas.
— Jay Weissberg