"Mid-Century": A Thriller Unraveling the Dark Secrets of Nostalgia and Madness - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Saturday, October 21, 2023

"Mid-Century": A Thriller Unraveling the Dark Secrets of Nostalgia and Madness


"Mid-Century" is a thriller film that delves into the unsettling premise of a vacation rental turning into a nightmare when the owner is revealed to be a motivated psychopath with a dark background. The story centers around Tom Levin, an architect, and his wife Alice, an ER doctor, who are grappling with relationship issues. In an attempt to escape their troubles, they decide to rent a Mid-Century home designed by their personal idol, architect Frederick Banner. However, their idyllic weekend takes a terrifying turn as Tom begins to experience strange and haunting events. It becomes evident that Banner's influence may be playing a significant role in their unfolding nightmare.

Directed by Sonja O'Hara and written by Mike Stern, the film moves with a style that suits the thriller genre. Despite its solid plot, the movie has its shortcomings. Tom and Alice's characters feel underdeveloped, and the storyline seems overly packed, making it challenging to follow. Several characters are introduced, but some of them feel forced into the narrative without clear roles or motivations. Additionally, crucial details are missing, leading to confusion about the origins of the malevolent forces at play.

The film's core theme explores the consequences of emulating the iconic 1950s era, juxtaposing impeccable style and architecture with the prevalent misogyny and racism of the time. "Mid-Century" serves as a social commentary on Trumpism and the harassment of women, incorporating elements of satire and a haunted house thriller. It critiques the nostalgia-driven desire to return to an era marked by elegance but tainted by societal issues.


"He was a great man....and he's going to be great again." – Eldridge Banner on his father

The idea for "Mid-Century" emerged on the night of the 2016 election, inspired by the social climate surrounding the movement to "Make America Great Again." This thriller explores the notion of greatness associated with the 1950s, a time celebrated for its style and architecture but marred by misogyny and racism. The film scrutinizes Tom Levin, a representation of white American men who yearned to return to this era, highlighting the personal repercussions of such desires.

Frederick Banner, the self-proclaimed Orange King, serves as a metaphorical reference, echoing the traits of another orange-hued figure, representing narcissism and megalomania. "Mid-Century" is multifaceted, functioning as a social commentary on Trumpism and the mistreatment of women, a satirical take, and a haunted house thriller. It mirrors the chaos of our contemporary society, mirroring the film's descent into unsettling territory.


Best Picture

Best Director (Sonja O'Hara)

Best Supporting Actor (Bruce Dern)

2022 IFS Los Angeles Film Festival

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