Review: Midnight Family (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: Midnight Family
Rating: NR
Director: Luke Lorentzen
Starring: The Ochoas
Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins

What It Is: The Ochoa family provides a (somewhat illegal) service independent of their government: Mexico City has a lack of emergency responders either willing or able to provide care for those injured. The Ochoas’ business involves swooping in to save the day with their privately-owned ambulance, racing through the streets like madmen in order to reach the situation at hand… and hopefully get paid. This documentary follows them around in a matter of a couple of days, chronicling their financial troubles, missions, and colorful personalities.

What We Think: This doc was intense—what we often see in the movies becomes suddenly very real. It was riveting. Car chases, showdowns with authority, and the matter of life and death: that all becomes very tangible in this fantastic feature as we are confronted with the terror and devastation of trauma. It hits hard, and you realize that we’re involved with real stakes here. What follows is a sort of Spaghetti-western-like epicness. The heroes of the film are fun and sympathetic to watch. We gain insight into what is their strange version of “normal”, and for them to let us into their lives to see what it’s like is frankly a Godsend. You’re tagging along with intelligent, insightful people racing competitor ambulances and saving lives—laughing and living with them is an incredible experience, each wholly watchable and lovable characters on their own. The technical elements all come together as well, with a good score, exciting pacing, and beautiful, atmospheric cinematography. This was a wonderfully made film.

Our Grade: A+, Chill-inducing, honest, at times painful to watch, entertaining, and overall a wild ride. In the face of blood, destruction, devastation, and death, the ‘midnight family’ has the strength that makes you feel alive.

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Chai Simone Written by: