A movie about war, yet one that looks at peace; inner peace from the turmoil soldiers face during warring times.
Starring Gary Sinise, Kevin Dillion, Peter Berge, and a young Ethan Hawke, A Midnight Clear is about a group of American soldiers assigned to a mission towards the end of World War II in the snowcapped French-German border mountains. It's here that they come across seven German army soldiers who initiate talks with their American counterparts and work on a scheme to surrender without any bloodshed.
It doesn't take long to realize that the movie is not a typical war movie. There is hardly any "fighting". A Midnight Clear is a study of human nature in times of adversity. It's a look at friendship and trust and brotherhood amongst the men on the front line. It's also a stark look at the politics of war.
While the slow buildup of initial tension in the story does lead to momentary jubilation, eventually like war in the end there is sadness, destruction, loss, and a general feeling of melancholia.
The film succeeds brilliantly in taking the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions. There are light moments of self discovery as we witness the time when our young American soldiers loose their virginity, together. Or the time they have a snowball fight with the Germans. But, unexpectedly the truth of war catches up on them and the harsh realities of being away from family in severe conditions eventually takes it toll.
A Midnight Clear is a beautifully shot film. Keith Gordon directs wonderfully giving the snowy terrain a character of its own, bringing together the beauty of nature alongside the beast of war. The entire cast supports each other rather well with Ethan Hawke giving one of his finest performances.
A Midnight Clear is a must see film. It's not about war, nor does it preach about peace; what is does is encourage us to look inside ourselves and think about the important things in life like family, friendship, courage, forgiveness, love, ...
A Midnight Clear: 20th Anniversary Edition is available to buy on DVD and BluRay from April 16,2012 courtesy of Second Sight Films.