Koch Vision // 2004 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 14th, 2005
A glimpse into the mind of a hyperactive ADHD nine-year-old after twelve Kit-Kats.
Here we have a low-budget indie romp through the streets of New York that runs its juices on insanity and pure racing fuel -- Operation Midnight Climax.
Conspiracies are all around. At least that's what Will Nitch thinks. Will (Will Keenan, Tromeo and Juliet) has an idea to counteract the shadow government agencies that have their surveillance cameras trained on him. He's going to put together his own clandestine effort, comprised entirely of women (or so he hopes), codenamed "Operation Midnight Climax," which will kick off with a balls-out midnight rave.
The movie follows Will as he zips around the Big Apple, spreading the covert word about his big midnight bash. Intermingled throughout is video footage of various women offering insights into a multitude of topics, lending a documentary feel to the film.
But Will's adventures are the primary focus, as are his interactions with his colorful friends -- his girlfriend (Caron Bernstein) and his co-conspiracy hound (Michael Showalter, Wet Hot American Summer).
As the night of the big event draws closer, Will must continue to evade the prying eyes of...whoever and "recruit" more women (read: stuff them into a bag). But will the conspirators catch up with him and squash his ambitious plan?
Operation Midnight Climax is a tomahawk slam of unadulterated energy. The plot borders on nonsensical, the narrative flow is all over the map, and there are a few too many spots of unfunny stupidity strewn about, but the juice from the pacing and the lead actor rockets this thing ahead -- and you'll get caught up in it. You may not come away with much more than when you started, but I think you'll have a good time.
Will Keenan is the reason for that. The guy is an amazingly deft physical comedian. Seriously, his antics are worth a look on their own merits. He scampers up lampposts and streetlights with little effort, wedges himself into phone booths in unnatural ways, and (this is the coolest) gets hit by a convertible, flips over the windshield, and lands perfectly in the passenger seat. In this aspect, Operation Midnight Climax works remarkably well as an exercise in performance art.
Keenan is also an extremely charismatic actor; his agility, mixed with his self-deprecating humor, all bolstered by his high-octane energy, propel the movie forward and overwhelm the patches of too-much-nonsense that sometimes pop up.
The movie is assembled well, with directors Keenan and Gadi Harel using the conspiracy thread to sew the ziggy-zaggy narrative together. Black-and-white surveillance footage frequently pops up within the movie, and the audio often switches to a scratchy FBI "bug" sound. Sure its gimmicky, but the gimmick serves the movie, and aids in generating that energy that pushes it forward.
At the end of the day, Operation Midnight Climax is definitely not for everybody. But as an alternative to -- well, anything -- the movie should entertain. This flick is straight-up grassroots indie filmmaking, and features an actor of noteworthy comic presence. For those itching for a dose of "I'm-not-entirely-sure-what-the-F-is-going-on-here-but-it's-kinda-fun," you just might want to track this disc down.
The transfer is good with a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation, although the quality is spotty given the low-budget stock used. Sound is a passable, though unremarkable, 2.0 mix. Sadly, there are no extras.
What can you say about a movie that features a grown man dressed in a rubber alien mask throwing beautiful women into burlap sacks, pies baked with menstrual blood, and a crazy conspiratorial plot colored with Wiccan and Masonic history? I have no idea.
Not guilty by reason of insanity.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Koch Vision
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated