Midnight Express

Midnight Express
Release Date: 6th October 1978
Director: Alan Parker
Rating: 18
Columbia Pictures

Based on a true story, Billy Hayes is sent to a Turkish prison after trying to smuggle some hashish. Unfortunately for him, prison ain’t all that great in Turkey, and they have no intention of letting him out anytime soon. The film tells the tale of one man trapped in a living hell, though one must remember this is based on a true story, not scene for scene a true story. All aboard the Midnight Express.

Following Hayes life in prison we quickly see that this Turkish prison isn’t a good place to be. It is a dog eat dog world with prisoners stabbing people in the ass, prison officers dishing out brutal punishments and men tending to like a bit of bum fun. Consent or not. The film paints the prison as a horrific place, with some slight exaggeration to make a more intense film. Some scenes are quite hard to watch, though some people like me are quite keen on a bit of eye gouging. Mmm.

The story of escaping comes into play once things don’t go right in the justice system, and Hayes and his friends set out to escape. These scenes give glimpses of hope before crushing it down and the incredibly electro music sets a rather dreamy scene to the whole ordeal. Some of the later scenes may go a little over the top as his crazy mostly fictional finale comes into play (the real life conclusion is different, so don’t go telling people this is how it happened!) but it makes for one piece of film which is hard to forget. The torture, the humanity and the music form a hellish rendition of an amazing true tale. Just don’t try to smuggle drugs and you’ll avoid having to run the Midnight Express.

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