Midnight Family – Hot Docs 2019 Quickie Review

Midnight Family may just be the leading contender for the most intense film of 2019. Following the day-in-the life of the Ochoa family, and their privately owned ambulance business, the late night of Mexico isn’t as pretty as one would hope. Aiding numerous in need, but failing nearly every time to make a profit, their cheap/broke lifestyle is a painful one to experience. Director Luke Lorentzen perfectly encapsulates the rush and immediate urge of the neon bathed sirens, utilizing the most out of the surrounding sound, to increase the tension of the chaos. Adding to this continuously forwarding momentum, the film never feels gratuitous, or graphic for that matter, when revealing the real-life carnage of the patients. Using mainly medium shots and detailed focal points, clever ways of covering up massive collateral damage from the victims, fits perfectly with the film’s strong intent to highlight a large political struggle of emergency health care.

Although there is a certain lack of material regarding the personal lives of the featured family members, which is constantly mentioned throughout the film, but is never explicitly shown or even detailed visually for that matter, the lack of said material is certainly eyebrow raising. Regardless, through it’s jaw dropping sequences and pure adrenaline, Midnight Family makes a very compelling case on why we should fund stronger medical emergency care and ambulances for Mexico, over building stupid walls.

Midnight Family is set to be screened at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, as part of the World Showcase program, on the following dates:

Thursday, April 25th – 6:15 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Friday, April 26th – 3:30 PM – Isabel Bader Theatre

Sunday, May 5th – 8:45 PM – Hart House Theatre

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