Midnight Express 30th Anniversary Edition


A prison drama that’s airless? Goes with the territory, you might say. But Midnight Express manipulates our emotions so relentlessly, you may feel inclined to fling open some windows. Of course, that’s also its strength – director Alan Parker wants us to know just what it feels like to be banged up in the most squalid hellhole on Earth. Scripted by Oliver Stone, the story’s loosely based on the memoirs of Billy Hayes, who in 1970 tried to smuggle 2kg of heroin out of Turkey and reaped the consequences. The film aroused fury in Turkey and you can see why – all the Turks are brutal and corrupt. But if you can overlook that – and it’s not easy – Parker’s film is powerful and harrowing, with fine performances from Brad Davis as Hayes and John Hurt as his frail Brit fellow-prisoner. 


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