Midnight Special – 4 out of 5
There were a couple things that struck me the moment I saw a TV spot for this film: Number 1) It was written and directed by Jeff Nichols (No, not the comedian that had a movie made about him and I reviewed his book over at The Robot’s Pajamas—rather the man that gave us the amazing Mud), Number 2) It has Michael Shannon in it and I’ll see anything that man is in—he’s just so damn talented, and Number 3) It puts the song of the same name in my head and has me singing it endlessly. So, anyway, now that I’ve gotten around to watching Midnight Special was the ear worm of a song it ended up burrowing in my head worth it?
|It is for Shannon's intense staring.|
Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) is a special child with some mysterious abilities. His father; Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon), with the help of a man named Lucas (Joel Edgerton), steals him away from a cult that believes the child to be their savior and tries to get him to a certain place by a certain time and date—specified entirely by Alton. The group meets up with Alton’s mother; Sarah (Kirsten Dunst), but are soon followed by not only the religious cult trying to reclaim him but the government as well.
|It's kinda nice seeing a WB movie that contains superhuman powers actually|
end up pretty decent.
Midnight Special is quite an amazing film that looks terrific, has some amazing special effects and has a fantastic cast that are all doing an absolutely fantastic job; however, the film can easily be labelled as boring to potentially many viewers (including my girlfriend who was very irritated with the film). Was I bored with it? No, but I won’t deny that this film will not work for everyone watching it.
|Ah yes, sterile white rooms. Somehow creepier than a dark, decaying room.|
|What's he looking at? One of the many mysteries|
this film has to offer.
The story doesn’t waste time throwing you into the mystery of Alton’s abilities and where the group is going. The reveals come slowly and very methodically and it leaves the very real potential for everything to drag. There is an occasional moment of excitement as things get cracking into high gear—for example, when a mysterious shower of space debris that might have been caused by Alton (no Spoilers, for ya) ends up destroying a gas station or the moments when law enforcement or the cult converge on the group—but, for the most part, the film is a slow burn tale that is all about discovering who Alton is, where his powers extend to and come from and what is so significant about the location they are getting to. This methodical pace is perfectly mirrored with simple but effective music that only enhances the quiet intensity that is this film’s tone. From my perspective, I was very impressed with the pace that writer/director Jeff Nichols set and it really left me completely hooked and engaged to see where everything was going.
|Spoiler Alert: It's just frozen poop falling from the International Space Station.|
If there is one thing I didn’t like about the film is the fact the story is developed enough that is really nails the mystery of it all but lacking enough that it had me wanting more and wanting more desperately. I wanted to know more about the cult that held Alton, I wanted to know more about the relationship between Roy and Sarah, I wanted to know more about how Lucas got involved with everything and I wanted to see more of the government agent; Paul Sevier (Adam Driver), who was assisting in the investigation—that last one I’m not sure if it was because I liked the character or because I love Adam Driver as an actor and just wanted to see more of him. As it stands, I think the story and plot are developed fantastically but I won’t deny I definitely wanted to know additional information about the characters and their history.
|I just like this dude.|
Midnight Special is a damn fine movie. The story is super engaging, visually the film is stunning and the performances are incredible. Sure, there are elements that left me wanting more and the replay value is definitely not high on this for me but I can’t hold that against the film too badly. Overall, it’s just a very impressive and enthralling film.