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IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS

Director: ALEX HOLDRIDGE

U.S.A. • 2007 • BLACK AND WHITE • DOLBY STEREO • 95 MIN


ONE OF THE YEAR’S GENUINE INDIE DISCOVERIES IS THIS SLOWBURNING AFFAIR, WHICH BLENDS LAIDBACK SLACKER REPARTEE WITH OLD-FASHIONED ROMANCE, AND WRAPS IT UP IN GORGEOUS BLACK-AND-WHITE—WITH A DAB OF SINATRA ON THE SOUNDTRACK THE FINISHING TOUCH.
It’s not an auspicious moment for aspiring screenwriter Wilson (jauntily-monikered Scoot McNairy), who’s moved from Texas to LA in search of his big break, when his flatmates catch him masturbating over a picture of his best pal’s girlfriend. Desperate not to spend New Year’s Eve on his own, he links up with an online dating site, and is surprised when his ‘Misanthrope to misanthrope’ entry actually attracts attention, though when he does meet his date Vivian (Sara Simmonds), she turns out to be a right royal pain in the behind. Still, neither of them wants to be on their own, so they persist, and go for a wander in and around downtown LA . . . Pleasingly reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, the resulting verbal sparring as these two survive initial antipathy to strike up a warm accord benefits from wonderful location work that reveals a photogenically run-down quarter of the City of Angels, replete with sundry boarded up movie palaces, that’s almost a character in itself. With lovely, unguarded performances and a nifty vein of sarcasm, this plays like the sort of film a young Woody Allen might have made were he starting out today. Writer-director Alex Holdridge keeps it hip on the surface, but the old school values of heart and empathy seem to be his guides. It’s an auspicious start for cast and film-maker alike.—Trevor Johnston.


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