Fantasia Review: Midnight

Do-sik stalks his victim

Despite living in a modern connected world, and we’ve seen marked improvements due to rapid technological advances, being deaf or suffering from hearing loss puts you at a disadvantage in most areas of life. Unless you’re impacted by it yourself, it’s almost impossible to understand the difficulties that seemingly simple everyday tasks can pose. However, it can open a whole world of new possibilities for filmmakers, especially in genre cinema. Midnight does this with a great deal of imagination.

Kyung-Mi (Jin Ki-Joo) works in a call-centre, providing a sign-language service for customers. Desperate to fit in, she attends a dinner with clients, but leaves early after an embarrassing incident, picking up her mother on the way home. Do-sik (Wi Ha-joon) is a murderer, stalking the streets for his next prey. He targets So-jung (Kim Hye-Yoon), whose brother is a former police officer (Park Hoon). They’re thrown together in a cat and mouse game of survival.

Midnight is a clever thriller which uses Kyung-Mi’s hearing impediment in several interesting and inventive ways. Despite much of the action taking place on the streets, director Kwon Oh-Seung does a great job of giving his film a claustrophobic feel. Indeed, in many ways much of the action is self-contained. There is also some very impressive running! Midnight bathes in a number of genres to create a tense and rewarding experience.

Midnight screens at Fantasia International Film Festival.

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