In Search of a Midnight Kiss

Review by Leo Robson | 17 Aug 2007
Alex Holdrige's film is the site of internal conflict. It covers a lonely New Year's Eve in the life of Wilson, a self-described misanthrope who places an advert with an online dating service, but it countervails such unromantic modern realities by capturing its characters in Manhattan monochrome; it trades in the novel habit of delivering the punchline of a scene befor its feedline, so that you laugh backwards, as it were, while at other times it falls back on the timeworn sitcom device of cutting to a new scene with an image that reverses or undermines the impression left at the end of the last; and it contains characters who bemoan the mediocrity of Los Angeles while the camera swoons to its architechture in interludes that Antonioni might have considered a little tangential.

The film falls far short of being the latter-day Before Sunset it seeks to be: its romantic conflicts are too routine, and too easily overcome, and the anti-dating dating blather is never persuasively cynical enough to paper over the film's sentimental portrayal of romantic love. As played by Scott McNairy, Wilson is occasionally in danger of being one of those holier-than-thou protagonists too good for this world, and the audience is frequently invited to join him in patronising characters who lack his intellectual refinement or hardened pessimism. But the film is frequently amusing and never dull, and it closes with an a capella version of The Scorpions' "Winds of Change" which only the most stony-hearted filmgoer will be able to resist warming to.