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Miracle Mile Review

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A town panics when it learns that a nuclear strike is imminent.

★★★★

Though a thoughtful and intelligent movie it's easy to see why distributors have been so edgy about releasing it before now in the UK. Veering unfashionably from wistful comedy to outright panic, director Dejarnatt certainly dares to take an unconventional, and hardly reassuring, approach, albeit to familiar subject matter.

On Miracle Mile, a stretch of Los Angeles freeway near the prehistoric LaBrea tar pits, trombonist Anthony Edwards has just overslept and missed a late-night date with Mare Winningham, the girl he has been looking for all his life. Turning up at 4.30 a.m. at the diner where he was due to meet her at midnight, he answers a ringing call phone and receives a panic-stricken message from a soldier in a missile silo somewhere who claims that World War III is going to start within the hour. Unsure but half-convinced, he shares the news with the rest of the late-nighters in the diner, and gradually the ripples of panic spread throughout the city as zero hour approaches.

While others are organising a futile and insane dash for Antarctica, Edwards decides to make a bid at finding and rescuing Winningham, making up in one hour for the life he thinks he has wasted. A worst-case scenario rethinking of 1941, Miracle Mile has some of the eccentric drive and taut plotting of After Hours, but is mainly a movie original, confronting the End of the World with a mix of black humour, deeply-felt anger and honest sentiment.

Wonderfully acted by a large cast of star bit-players who were obviously just keen on being in this particular movie - and with Edwards amply making up for his criminal appearances in Revenge of the Nerds and Top Gun.