Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Night Fall

Author(s): Derek S.
Location: Philadelphia

"Night Fall"

Directed by Oliver Stone
Screenplay by Oliver Stone
Based on the Novel by Nelson DeMille
Edited by Christopher Rouse
Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey
Original Score by Hans Zimmer

Main Cast

John Corey Mark Wahlberg
Kate Mayfield Hilary Swank
Bud Mitchell Patrick Wilson
Jill Winslow Romola Garai

Tagline: "Love, jealousy and vengeance are the elements of passionate crimes"

Synopsis: The opening scene of NIGHT FALL is an illicit affair between a man and a woman --- married, but not to each other --- on a July evening in 1996 on a Long Island, NY, beach. Props include a hotel blanket, a bottle of wine and, most significantly, a video camera that preserves not only their activity but also the last moments of TWA Flight 800 as it explodes. The couple, Bud Mitchell and Jill Winslow, takes the camera and flee the scene as authorities rush to the beach. The official explanation is that the terrible incident was the result of mechanical failure; five years later, however, doubts remain.

John Corey, a contract agent with the Federal Anti-Terrorist Task Force, attends the annual memorial service for the victims of the disaster. Also in attendance is Corey' wife, Kate Mayfield, a career FBI agent who was part of the original Flight 800 investigation. Mayfield is dissatisfied with the conclusions of the investigation and feels that the evidence --- much of which was ignored in the original report --- needs a fresh look. Corey, who has never encountered a rule he couldn't break in pursuit of the greater good, is not entirely convinced that the original conclusion is incorrect, although the eyewitness accounts of trained observers --- accounts that note the presence of what appears to be a missile speeding toward the plane --- are difficult to discount. What ultimately causes Corey to revisit the evidence is the resistance he encounters as he begins to slowly uncover a conspiracy to conceal the truth of what actually happened. A former NYPD detective, Corey is not without a network of contacts, and as he begins calling in favors and connecting dots, he discovers that a crucial piece of evidence, Bud & Jill's tape, thought to be destroyed, still exists--- and establishes the truth of what really happened on that fateful July night. A substantial portion of NIGHT FALL examines the alarming amount of conflicting evidence surrounding the crash. This fascinating discourse argues the opposing points so well that no matter how convinced one might be about the cause of the Flight 800 explosion, the film will open the mind to reconsideration of what really happened on that night. With an explosive and semi-ambiguous ending, NIGHT FALL stands on its own as a memorable, disturbing film that resonates long after the final frame.

What the Press would say:

Oliver Stone returns to form in this controversial thriller based off of Nelson DeMille's acclaimed novel. This is sure to ignite criticism from purists who believe in the government's official explanation of TWA Flight 800, but Stone's exceptional work is too profound and believable for the theories to be completely discounted.

Surrounded by a stellar cast and crew, Night Fall is as conventionally sound as it is engrossing. The cast is superb across the board, most notably Mark Wahlberg, who gives his most challenging and triumphant performance since his Oscar-nominated turn in The Departed. John Corey is a part tailored to Wahlberg's talents- a quick-talking, witty tough guy, who brings both comic relief and a dominating presence to the film. He is sure to be talked about once again come awards season. Hilary Swank takes on another complicated role, and after falling into oblivion after a few sub par films after her two Oscars, she is sure to be re-embraced by the academy for her layered and intense performance.

On the supporting front, Patrick Wilson and Romola Garai are both attractive and exciting as the promiscuous lovers who capture the crash on film. Their quest to remain anonymous and hide both their affair and their world-altering footage from Corey and Mayfield is chilling to watch, and it is obvious that both are personally invested in the roles.

A memorable score by Hans Zimmer, brilliantly tense editing by Christopher Rouse, and appropriate and enticing cinematography by Seamus McGarvey add the technical aspects to Night Fall, which lives up to the excitement of the plot.

Stone, a conspiracy theorist at heart, is in his element making this film, and has carved another masterpiece, his best since Natural Born Killers and JFK. It is sure to be remembered in many categories come award season.

Best Picture (Drama)
Best Director- Oliver Stone
Best Actor- Mark Wahlberg
Best Actress- Hilary Swank
Best Supporting Actor- Patrick Wilson
Best Supporting Actress- Romola Garai
Best Adapted Screenplay- Oliver Stone

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