Dec 29, 2010
Miracle Mile is many things: a comedy, a romance, a tragedy. But what it is mostly is a testimonial of the stupid things we men do for women. This very similar approach to looming catastrophe was utilized in the neo-Kaiju film, Cloverfield. Following the same schematics, Miracle Mile/Cloverfield is about the discovery of impending disaster, whether synthetic or organic, and a twerp who vows to himself to venture into ground zero in hopes of reuniting and escaping with a woman they love. In Cloverfield's case, the woman in question is the erotic, exotic Odette Yustman. In Miracle Mile's, we get . . . Mare Winningham sporting a mullet. Both films are starkly similar and both feature a helicopter crash near the same fraction of run time. Miracle Mile unravels like an 80s-controlled game of Perfection, meaning that regardless of what happens, shit's gonna pop. With such a drastic turnabout in tone, Anthony Edwards portrays quirky, obsessive Harry, a suit and nothing more. At least, until he answers an idly ringing phone outside of a diner. The frantic voice on the other end at first mistakes the number for his father's. Realizing his error, he issues a warning of a missile launch and then gunshots echo through the telephone lines. Harry then decides that he must retrieve a woman that he recently fell in love with . . . after their first date.
Opening on a cheery narrative is what creates the jolting effect of Miracle Mile. L.A.'s peaches-and-cream, regardless of current crime rate. When the phone is answered and fate rears its ugly head, the tone of Miracle Mile turns tar-black and characters are introduced only to do atrocious things, like burn two cops alive after their near-discovery of stolen car stereos. This character's name is Wilson. Wilson's trade is a street vendor, that jive-talking Negro who breaks into cars and rips out head units for quick cash. After being hijacked by a frantic and bleeding Harry (oh, how the tables have turned), Wilson demands to pick up his sister before the supposed Armageddon. Returning later in the urban response to the legacies of Bonnie & Clyde, Wilson departs as a hilarious and researched African archetype - a deadly stupid creature. This attempt to humanize the "cop-killer" was an effort too late. As previously mentioned, the film is essentially a countdown, alike to the previously reviewed Proto-nuke film, Ladybug, Ladybug.
Approaching from every possible angle, Miracle Mile is a strange oddity of action. Opening with an ugly romance between suit and beast, the fangs are eventually bared. Upon traveling to the woman's apartment, he discovers her drugged in her own bed, victim to her own Valium. Wasting no time, he picks up the grotesque ginger and places her in a shopping cart, scurrying them both out of the apartment plaza. It's at this awkward stage of cinematic puberty that Miracle Mile suffers the most grievous of wounds. What once was an interesting take on the bourgeois and the effects of mass hysteria is eventually transformed into a romantics crisis control babble. To further spread the leak of quality, the race against time turns into an aggravating escort mission. Say what you will but this couple's fates are sealed due to the insolence of Julie. Against his panicked orders to stay still until Harry finds a helicopter pilot, Julie is later seen wandering the streets, hassling passer-byers. This amongst other incursions is the death of Miracle Mile. As if an end of the world situation isn't stressful enough, we have to deal with the ignorance of a tramp.
Don't misconstrue my negativity as shrugging Miracle Mile off. There is much to enjoy about Miracle Mile, whether it be the slap to the face - the facade of felicity stripped as the news of impending disaster creeps, or the excellent musical composition by Tangerine Dream. Only in the later scenes does the exciting effect of hysteria become a problem for Harry. With cocktails and weapons, the citizenry attacks bistros and electronic stores, looting and creating visual anarchy for our greedy cinematographer. Time being a luxury they don't have, these civilians of L.A., particularly those on Miracle Mile, begin to revolt and riot, which creates the last glimmer of cinematic marvels found in Miracle Mile. I don't dare dispute the effect of the climax on those cinema goers in the early autumn of '88. However, to today's standards of bleak and nihilistic film fascination, Miracle Mile stands to me as a cheery time capsule of squandered proportions.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 6:00 PM
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