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by David Blackwell

PLOT: Ben Jordan (Rutger Hauer) is released from prison after 15 years for killing his pregnant wife. Laura (Natasha Richardson) is his social worker who believes that Ben didn't kill his wife. Laura gets entangled in a relationship with Ben, but she starts to have her doubts as she keeps digging into the truth behind the murder of Ben's wife so many years ago. Her social worker friend (Clancy Brown) warns her about Ben before some odd things start to happen like getting a shotgun delivered to her house (is it from her co-worker because he has the hots for her?!). Ben rather forget the past and wants Laura not to dig into it. Did Ben kill his wife those many years ago or was he framed for a murder he didn't do?

ANALYSIS: PAST MIDNIGHT is an average thriller that is easily forgetable except for the climatic sequence. The movie would have greatly benefited by more screen time with Rutger Hauer. Natasha Richardson sadly doesn't carry this movie well as the lead. Clancy Brown plays another thankless role (Clancy really shines with the right director and the right role) that is just average.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The colors are good. Sometimes they are nice and warm. the blacks are OK. However the picture is a little grainy (with some blocking seen in the dust given off from the home movie projector). There are some dirt in the picture if you know where to spot it (the most noticeable is the Cinetel films logo at the start of the movie).

The English stereo soundtrack is OK. The dialogue can be heard, and only the music turns out to be very loud. There is the option of seeing the movie with English, Spanish, or Japense subtitles.

EXTRAS: All there is a sequence of three trailers you can flick through: THE MISSING, IN THE CUT, and SECRET WINDOW.

MENUS: There is only the main menu and a scene selection menu. The subtitles options are listed on the main menu.

FINAL ANALYSIS: PAST MIDNIGHT is an average thriller that is just worth a rental to pass the 100 minutes. It is a barebones release from Columbia with a very barebones menu. PAST MIDNIGHT would have benefited with more screen time from Rutger Hauer. If you're a die-hard Rutger Hauer fan, you will buy this DVD or rent it at least.

this review is (c)8-10-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia