Takashi Miike Teams Up with Apple, Adapts Osamu Tezuka’s Midnight

The cult director’s latest short was shot entirely on an iPhone 15 Pro.

Few folks in cinema have had as strange a career arc as Takashi Miike. After making his name with such infamous films as Audition, Ichi the Killer, and Visitor Q — films well-known for their graphic violence, sexual content, and copious amounts of bodily fluids — Miike expanded his filmography to include arthouse titles (The Bird People in China), samurai fare (13 Assassins, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), superheroes (the Zebraman films), westerns (Sukiyaki Western Django), and even some family-friendly movies (Ninja Kids!!!, The Great Yokai War).

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the cult director recently teamed up with Apple, as reported by The Verge. Shot entirely on Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro, Miike’s latest is a live-action short based on Midnight, a 1987 manga by the legendary Osamu Tezuka. Compared to the likes of Astro Boy, Black Jack, Kimba the White Lion, and Phoenix, Midnight may be one of Tezuka’s lesser known titles, and follows the late night adventures of the titular taxi driver.

In Miike’s iPhone-shot Midnight, the enigmatic driver — who happens to be psychic and drives a souped up cab — helps a young woman being chased by gangsters who want her family’s trucking route. Midnight contains flashes of Miike’s trademark absurdism (e.g., the teddy bear-wielding hitman) as well as a glimpse into Japan’s “Dekotora” subculture, in which trucks are covered in neon lighting, murals, and other flashy decoration.

For a film shot on a smartphone, Midnight looks pretty great. You’d never guess it was shot on a mobile device given its colorful cinematography and stylized visuals, which even includes some drone footage for good measure. It’s certainly an impressive technical showcase for the iPhone as well as a fun little short from one of cinema’s most maverick filmmakers.

Enjoy reading Opus? Want to support my writing? Become a subscriber for just $5/month or $50/year.
Subscribe Today
Return to the Opus homepage