San Sebastián Film Review: ‘Midnight Runner’

San Sebastián Film Review: ‘Midnight Runner’
In an era of reckoning that is rapidly running out of new ways to describe the evil men do, “toxic masculinity” has become all too familiar a buzz term. But it could hardly be more aptly applied to the simmering psychopath at the center of “Midnight Runner”: A clean-cut champion athlete who leads an escalating parallel life as a serial assaulter of women, he appears to be incrementally poisoned from the inside out by his most violent impulses, turning from dysfunctional to dangerous as the sepsis spreads. Fictionalizing and updating events that made Swiss headlines in the 1990s, Hannes Baumgartner’s stern, glass-gazed debut feature courts debate by assuming his point of view for much of its short, sharp running time — achieving a clinical kind of empathy in its attempt to penetrate the male predator’s psychology.

Unspooling in San Sebastián’s New Directors showcase before a home-turf premiere in Zurich,
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