Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Docudrama  |   Release Date - Nov 21, 1997 (USA)  |   Run Time - 155 min.  |   Countries - Turkey , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Matthew Doberman

Clint Eastwood re-affirmed his directorial talents with this adept, atmospheric portrait of Savannah, GA based on John Berendt's wildly popular non-fiction bestseller. Eastwood wonderfully captures the pervasive feel of the Southern city's idiosyncratic subculture: The Savannah of Midnight is a world in which the everyday and the bizarre are one and the same. The film itself has a similar Southern drawl, unhurried and rich with suggestion. Kevin Spacey plays the potentially-murderous Jim Williams such that the character becomes a metaphor for the internally-conflicted South. John Cusack is reliably likeable, though the film's dependence on his character to move the plot along is one of its chief weaknesses. A couple of factors may have harmed Midnight's success at the box office: its laid-back, 155-minute running time is a bit long for most attention spans; and Eastwood took on the near-impossible task of visualizing a story that had already been realized in the heads of millions of readers. Still, the film remains a wonderful snapshot of an original, completely American slice of life.