Midnight Express 0.0 stars

The true story (or half-true) of an American student's run-in with the indecipherable Turkish penal code is structured as a sort of gauntlet of indignities; and it adds up to a test of whether one feels more readily righteous than bored. The personality of the American student and petty drug smuggler, who only wanted to please his friends back home with a gift from the Orient, is kept almost a total blank so that nothing impedes the youth audience (which is not apt to hold a little hashish against the fellow) from identifying with him as an unblemished martyr. To exactly what cause he is a martyr is also left accommodatingly open -- to, perhaps, saner drug laws, or to better prison conditions the world over, or to friendlier foreign relations, or to spending tourist dollars closer to home. The intellectual appeal of this vacant character is just about summed up in his finding delicious irony in the fact that, though Turkey is a country of pigs, they don't eat them there. Brad Davis, Randy Quaid, John Hurt; directed by Alan Parker. 1978.

Duncan Shepherd

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