Martin Brest’s Midnight Run is a downright delight, the kind of film that is endlessly rewatchable. Anchored by a stellar tough-guy performance by Robert De Niro, and a hilarious comedic performance by Charles Grodin, along with a deep supporting cast, this is a film that seamlessly blends comedy and action.
The 1990s featured a spate of big films about crime and criminals, many starring some of the greatest actors working in Hollywood. Films like Goodfellas, Casino, A Bronx Tale, Ronin, Donnie Brasco, and Cop Land helped to define an era of the genre, and few actors were more important to this era than Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Michael Mann’s Heat features both of them, at the peak of their abilities, and thanks to Mann’s memorable neo-noir style, Heat manages to be among the standouts of the genre.
This review is part of my Remake Preview series, where I watch the original version (or versions) of a movie that is set to be re-made in the near future.
Wag the Dog is a harshly cynical film, a film about a political fixer who comes in to cover up a crisis in which the President of the United States has been accused of sexual impropriety. It’s bizarre to watch a film with this basic premise given the events of the 2016 election, though its not hard to draw parallels between the situations. The film is at parts highly implausible, and yet as Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) and Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro) produce a series of events to distract from the real narrative, we follow an utterly contrived story that feels, somehow, simultaneously surreal and improbable to real life, and yet convincing as a satire of real events that occur all the time.