INTO THE NIGHT Blu-ray Review

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There were some films that came out in the eighties’ that would place a somewhat average character into a chain of bizarre events that become more and more surreal that all take place in the course of one night, a most notable case being Martin Scorsese’s brilliant After Hours.  Technically Into The Night takes place over the  course of seventy two hours, but Jeff Goldblum’s character Ed Okin is so sleep deprived and out of his element that time doesn’t seem to really play much into the equation anyways. Into The Night is a fascinating piece of John Landis’ filmography and in all honesty not nearly his strongest, but one thing it has really going for it despite comedic elements that don’t always land for me and a sense of urgency to underline the thriller elements is just how close I imagine that Landis had to have been to Goldbum’s character at this point in his life and this movie feels like it could have been directed by Ed Okin himself if he really existed.  I’m sure that comes across as an odd way to recommend a movie, but what I’m getting at is that despite the flaws I find this movie to have it some how never manages to become dull. It’s a fascinating watch without a doubt even though it doesn’t work nearly as well as Jonathan Demme’s sensational Something Wild.  

Another thing that makes Into The Night work is the chemistry between the two leads and even though this was initially a box office disappointment and critical failure, it undeniably led to Goldblum and Pfeiffer becoming movie stars and rightfully so. When we first meet Ed, he’s already been zoned out and stressed, in fact he states himself to his colleague played by Dan Aykroyd that he hasn’t had a proper night’s rest in years. He comes home from work wanting nothing then to give in to the irresistible temptation of deep slumber to find his wife home having an affair and in a moment of defeat decides to drive aimlessly to the airport, perhaps to take his colleague’s sleazy advice of letting loose in Las Vegas or maybe just to drive around in an existential bubble with no particular destination, just waiting for it to burst and shake him out of his own mundane existence. That’s when he meets Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer) and his slow descent into hell spirals into an existential roller coaster as she’s evading being killed by Iranian criminals seeking the smuggled emeralds from the Shah of Iran‘s treasury.  If that isn’t enough to give Ed a second wind from his life induced coma, he must also contend with a British hitman played by David Bowie and Diana’s pissed off Elvis impersonator  brother.

On the surface there’s really not much remarkable to say about Ron Koslow’s script, in fact it’s understandable to see why FOX passed on it initially and the script was dead in the water until Universal picked it up four years later.  John Landis was in the middle of dealing with facing a trial for involuntary manslaughter arising out of the unfortunate incident that came out of the Twilight Zone: The Movie shoot and I’d assume  that John Landis might have been attracted to this script mostly from relating to the state of mind that the main character exists in throughout the entire story. Another interesting point to bring up is that Landis’ original choice for the lead role Jack Nicholson, turned it down essentially because Ed never resolves his problem in the script, perhaps that lacking conclusion is something that appealed to Landis as well. There’s been a spark missing in Landis’ work that was so prevalent in his masterful work with early comedies like The Blues Brothers and Trading Places and that’s not to say I hadn’t enjoyed some of his later work, I’ll defend Coming To America any day, but I just can’t deny in seeing that a piece of Landis might have went away after that terrible accident.

SHOUT SELECT! doesn’t disappoint in giving this film the red carpet treatment that they’ve been doing consistently title after title and if you’re already a fan of this movie, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t pick up this gorgeous Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. Extras include two brand new behind-the-scenes features, one with director John Landis called Back Into The Night and an interview with actor Jeff Goldblum titled Requiem For An Insomniac.

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The Author

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan is a freelance film journalist and is the founder of Movie Time And Beyond. His passion for movies and pop culture knows no limits.