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Go Kart Films presents
Operation Midnight Climax (2003)

"Don't let the stillness of time trick you into thinking all is well!"
- Will (Will Keenan)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 05, 2005

Stars: Will Keenan
Other Stars: Caron Bernstein, Michael Showalter, Stefanie Imhoff, Jane Jensen, Michael Musto, Carl Truchel, Eleanor Hutchins, Anthony Haden-Guest, Gadi Harel
Director: Will Keenan, Gadi Hardel

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:14m:38s
Release Date: December 07, 2004
UPC: 600773600690
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C+B-B D-

DVD Review

Operation Midnight Climax is vaguely a sort of a trippy, underground variation on the more traditionally mainstream Conspiracy Theory, in which a rabid conspiracy theorist may just end up being the only voice of reason in a very shadowy world. In this low-budget version, paranoid Will Nitch (Will Keenan), a guy who sees conspiracies in literally everything, concocts the titular master plan to create an all-female secret society, via a massive midnight love fest—which has something to do with astro-sexual mysticism and cosmic eroticism. That is, if he can stay one step ahead of some-time girlfriend Kali (Caron Bernstein), as well as get his foreskin re-attached in time.

Keenan achieved a modicum of underground movie fame with a couple of key roles in a pair of Troma releases (Tromeo and Juliet, Terror Firmer), and with Operation Midnight Climax assumes a co-writing/directing role, alongside Gadi Harel. The story itself is a little lean, but the film is cobbled together with a number of different visual approaches—ranging from supposed hidden camera shots to grainy interview segments—that get sandwiched between the broad physical comedy of Keenan.

Throughout this film, Keenan falls down stairs, dangles from a moving vehicle, and scales traffic lights, and as a result he is often labeled a modern-day Buster Keaton. That's quite the tall compliment, but there were a few moments when I had to rewatch certain scenes because Keenan's moves were so effortlessly fluid and quick, and the scenes of him getting hit by a car were really impressive bits of stunt work.

Keenan's physical comedy is the cornerstone here, and he bounds around with a watchable chaotic screen presence that exceeds the usual limitations of arthouse indies. While the script has a few clever moments overall, it is often just disjointed conspiracy-babble filler, in-between a well-placed pratfall. Keenan never appears to be trying too hard to be funny, which only makes his Keaton-esque humor slightly more appealing.

The title, seemingly so appropriate for Will Nitch's big plan, actually comes from a secret CIA program from the late 1950s/early 1960s in which the effects of having sex while on LSD was tested on unknowing participants. In Operation Midnight Climax, the proposed sexual connection is designed to ultimately serve a greater good, but naturally a series of manic misadventures (including an attempt to remove the foreskin from a corpse in a funeral home) build to an ending that manages to be comic and tragic at the same time.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Presented in what appears to be 1.66:1 nonanamorphic widescreen, Operation Midnight Climax looks presentable without being exceptional. Colors are subdued, never appearing particularly bright or warm, though the print is consistent in its plainly average rendering

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in simple 2.0 stereo, producing clean, discernible dialogue, even under what were apparently low-budget indie "on location" conditions.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: No extras other than six chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Uneven more often than not, Operation Midnight Climax is a vehicle for Will Keenan's physical comedy in a world of conspiracies, missing foreskins, and a secret midnight sex club.


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