On Dec. 30, 1999, as millennial celebrations are underway in Rio De Janeiro, affluent speech tutor Maria (Torres) arrives home to learn that her lover, taciturn intellectual Pedro (Carlos Vereza), has inexplicably dumped her. Distraught and wanting an explanation, Maria wanders the streets of Rio looking for a working phone after she destroys her own in frustration. Eventually, she crosses paths with Joao (Vasconcellos), a convict surreptitiously released from prison to kill a police informant named Chico (Mateus Nachtergaele).
Helmed by Brazilian directors Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries") and Thomas, "Midnight" concerns the fateful meeting of two people from vastly different socio-economic backgrounds at the turning of the new millennium. With this conceit, the directors portray the poverty, corruption, and homelessness endemic to Brazilian society — especially in the seaside favelas where doomed Chico plies his trade — while also building a utopian sense of hope into the unlikely but passionate turn of events that bring Joao and Maria together. Part crime thriller, part portrait of a woman in crisis, "Midnight" captures sensual Rio and its struggling residents in a variety of visceral moods.