Midnight Express tells (with a few liberties and exaggerations) the horrific tale of Billy Hayes, condemned to four years in a hell-hole of a Turkish gaol for attempting to smuggle marijuana, only to hear, shortly before his scheduled release that he was to be made an example of and his sentence increased to a 30-year life stretch. It's a remarkably powerful film, with the hopelessness of Hayes' situation, the constant menace of the guards and the sheer squalour of the gaol being very convincingly depicted. There are excellent performances from Brad Davis (who died tragically at the age of just 41, some 13 years after this movie) in the main role and oscar-worthy support from John Hurt, not to mention chillingly convincing turns from the boo-hiss Turkish officials. The stunning Moroder soundtrack is certainly one of his best, which will be stuck in your head for days afterwards. To summarise, Midnight Express is a visceral experience, often horrific, sometimes blackly comic and occasionally poignant, and which will stay with you for a long time. The film is certainly meritous of 5 stars.
The Blu-ray transfer however leaves a lot to be desired. The image quality looks like a straight port-over from DVD (or even VHS) and the audio seems little better than bog-standard stereo, with nothing apart from a few ambient sounds coming out of the surround speakers. When you consider the excellent HD remastering of many films a lot older than this, the Blu-ray of Midnight Express is somewhat disappointing. You may as well save yourself a few quid and buy the DVD version, as the extras (commentary and making-of featurette) look to be the same. So, one star deducted from this otherwise excellent movie, for the lack-lustre Blu-ray presentation.