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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Retro Review: Into The Night (1985)

Into The Night
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dan Ackroyd, Bruce McGill, David Bowie
Genre: Comedy Thriller
U.S Box Office Gross: $7.5 million

Plot: Ed Orkin is an insomniac with a cheating wife & a dull job. His chances for excitement look hopeless until a mysterious blonde named Diana drops onto the hood of his car. Now, it's Ed's turn for some adventure & romance as Diana leads him on a merry & murderous chase where the payoff is dollars or death

'Unexpected Early Cult '80s Pfieffer & Goldblum Gem By John Landis'

Aerospace engineer and insomniac named Ed discovers his wife has been cheating on him with his coworker, & later he drives to the airport late one night, whilst bored and restless, and ends up helping out a woman, who is in deep trouble. Named Diana it turns out she is a jewel thief and that she is on the run from the murderous Iranians, who want the emeralds that Diana has smuggled.  

An early John Landis '80s offering post - Trading Places and The Blues Brothers and pre- Coming To America sees the team up of Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Goldblum in a plot that is eerily reminiscent to Robert Zemeckis's Romancing The Stone. The set up is played out akin to Romancing The Stone and Adventures in Babysitting with the heroes on the run from the Middle Eastern bad guys, but it is set in the city of Los Angeles and it functions more like a light thriller, with occasional F-words blurted. It is light, but it is far from being the comedy that this film has been touted. 

The first 10-15 mins are kinda boring, but once Pfieffer's character, Diana first appears onscreen, that is when it starts to heat up, briefly anyway. Both her and Jeff Goldblum as Ed are in top form and give understated and pleasant performances as the likeable and well-meaning leads; Michelle Pfieffer is one of my favourite actresses and whilst she hasn't had more of the successful A-list Hollywood movies under her belt, she definitely is one of the most established performers on the block and has talent, as well as beauty in abundance and I loved her roles in Batman Returns, Dangerous Minds, I Am SamAs Diana, she was great and a revelation in one of her earlier roles. & whilst he was never regarded as leading man material, Jeff Goldblum was rather good in this. Into The Night also features cameo appearances from the late David Bowie, John Landis himself as one of the Middle Eastern terrorists, oddly enough, Dan Ackroyd & directors David Cronenberg & the late Jonathan Demme. 

There are scenes of Pfieffer in the nude, there is an appearance by singer David Bowie as one of the villains of the piece. The tone and mood of the film are deft as it switches and shifts from one end to another: one minute there is a serious scene, the next, it is laid back and pleasant. Sometimes this doesn't do many wonders for the film. 

At almost 2 hours long, Into the Night feels overlong and could have been trimmed and the story is a bit tedious to sit through. Michelle Pfieffer, for me anyway, is the key to this movie and of whom makes it watchable. By taking her away, Into The Night would be instantly forgettable and even less memorable. Yet it has its charms and as overlooked as it was and still is, despite a few lulls, it's not too bad of an effort and the last 20 mins were fairly good. 

The casting and the movie could have and should have benefited with more momentum in the story and some of the writing lacks excitement and genuine moments that make me smile. But withstanding that, Into The Night is still an unearthed gem that deserves to be noticed.     

Final Verdict:

This is an ambitious and surreal film and one that is overlooked. Though it may not be amazing or completely perfect and the narrative isn't as entertaining and great as one expects, the individual performances, especially by Michelle Pfieffer and Jeff Goldblum, gain an extra half a mark & are sufficient enough to make up for the weak and not very well conceived plot and a few lull moments which are in-between all of that. 

More famous for the number of celebrity cameos which appear in this film, whilst it is not an absolute must-watch for some people, Into The Night is definitely a type of cult movie etched out of the 1980s that only the 1980s can accomplish. & one that is also decent. 


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