On October 6, 1970, while on holiday in Istanbul, Turkey, American college student Billy Hayes straps 2 kg of hashish blocks to his chest. While attempting to board a plane back to the U.S. with his girlfriend, Billy is arrested by Turkish police on high alert due to fear of terrorist attacks.
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An unsatisfying and unappealing film. Hayes is not a hero and this isn’t really a miscarriage of justice. So what is this emphatic film really about? An expose of the Turkish legal and prison system? A plea for tolerance for youthful drug smuggling? Who knows? Certainly it’s an erratic narrative peppered by heightened gratuity which has little expository buildup and often look ludicrous as a result.
Since watching this film for the first time there are some sequences I can’t get out of my head, e.g. the sudden outbreak of extreme violence in the middle of the second half. Due to its intense use of cuts, close-ups, sound and music this scene is a cinematic masterpiece. But Moroder’s score is not always working: Because of his music the gay sex scene in the showers feels like belonging to a cheap soft porn movie.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Neither awful or mindblowing. Based on the Airplane references and for as gruesome as Midnight Express was I expected it to be much nastier. Randy Quaid and John Hurt were kind of distracting but overall I liked it.