Millennial Problems

I think writer and director Grant Johnson wanted to make a timely movie skewering Millennials and their attitudes. Ripping off the title of an unrelated Sylvester Stallone flick from the 1980s, Nighthawks ends up as a baffling puzzle that wastes its talented cast. Pretentious and dull, the noir-like mystery fails to resonate with preposterous twists.

Chace Crawford, Kevin Zegers and Janet Montgomery (Salem) star in what becomes a misguided diatribe aimed at Millennials that pleases no one.

An aspiring writer from what sophisticates now call flyover country, Stan (Chace Crawford) lives with the appropriately named Chad (Kevin Zegers) in New York City. The ever confident Chad, a walking stereotype of privilege, brings Stan along one night as a wingman for his club date. Stan isn’t much of a party animal and feels out of place. Drawn in by an enigmatic woman, Stan’s night soon becomes a dark journey of secrets when a mysterious group of strangers take an interest in him.

… skip Nighthawks and hunt down Janet Montgomery’s spellbinding work on Salem

Nighthawks is all style and little substance. There’s no disputing its sleek cinematography and thumping score, not to mention solid performances from the cast. Chace Crawford is a good fit as the lost Stan, who doesn’t know what he’s gotten into with this group and their mysterious club. The occasional narration by Stan is dreadful, bite-size chunks of dialogue trying to reach Millennials with an oddly preachy message. Storytelling always works better when you show instead of tell.

I really wanted to like Nighthawks because Janet Montgomery is a fantastic actress capable of great things. Her talents are largely wasted in the movie. After a promising start Nighthawks fails to deliver on its initial promise. Skip the boring Nighthawks and hunt down Janet Montgomery’s spellbinding work on Salem, one of the last decade’s best television programs. You will thank me later.

Video

Grant Johnson’s indie production has been filmed using the ARRI Alexa and various cameras. Nighthawks’ video quality definitely belongs on Blu-ray.

Say what you will about the script but its finely crafted cinematography is top-notch material. Razor sharp and loaded with pristine definition, the 1080P presentation exudes quality. Transferred from what is likely a high-quality digital intermediate, there are no technical problems degrading the consistently superb picture quality.

The only issue is rampant AVC banding in select scenes. Distributed by MVD, the sub-par AVC bitrates poorly compress Nighthawks’ moodily lit and graded digital intermediate.

Audio

Nighthawks has solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio. The bass-heavy soundtrack is the most prominent aspect, dominated by Kiley Norton’s excellent synth score. Discrete activity is largely limited to the front soundstage.

Surround elements mostly include ambient activity and take more prominence in the club scenes. The indie production has a few musical elements in clean fidelity. Primarily a dialogue-driven movie, there’s nothing out of balance between dialogue and louder soundtrack elements.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, inside the scope presentation at all times. A stereo soundtrack is included in 2.0 DTS-HD MA with largely the same characteristics as the surround mix.

Extras

FilmRise (distributed by MVD) continues their practice of labeling all of their pressed Blu-rays as “Special Editions.” They put Nighthawks out last year as a BD-R. Apparently reissuing the same transfer as a pressed BD warrants that label in their eyes. As can be seen below, there really isn’t much supplemental content included and that designation is largely meaningless.

Nighthawks Theatrical Trailer (01:39 in HD)

Photo Gallery (HD) – Around 36 different stills taken from the production.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Nighthawks
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

An underwhelming mystery aimed at Millennials that fails at its intended purpose.

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