Midnight Special tells the story of a father and son who go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special powers.
I don’t know what it is about director Jeff Nichols’ films but I absolutely love them. A major factor is probably the indie sci-fi that keeps you interested and on the edge of the seat while having you totally invested in the characters without bombarding you with special effects and action sequences to hide the fact that it has a weak storyline and poor performances. As a writer/director, his work is definitely something to look out for as they provide a refreshing taste of new talent and original films against a market saturated with lacklustre content.
One thing I’ve noticed about Nichols’ work is that it holds a familiar theme drawn throughout of spiritualism and family. Even though Midnight Special heads further into the science fiction genre, it still holds these themes at its centre and family is ultimately something that many audiences can relate to.
This would be his second outing with Michael Shannon (the first being Take Shelter in which he solely wrote) and boy does he perform. And so does the rest of the cast, including Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver who had the least amount of screen time out of the major characters. Each of the characters really utilised the parts they were given and all shone on screen in their own ways.
The opening sequence was brilliantly crafted and gets you asking questions from the moment we cut from black. It hooks you in and doesn’t let you go until well after the film has finished, but even then, there’s no question when it’ll let go.
Midnight Special also reminds us as an audience of sci-fi of the eighties like that of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. and what it was like to fully immerse yourself without getting totally bogged down in the visual bombardment of what we see on screen.
It’s definitely a ‘special’ film you need to see and a film where you’ll leave the cinema unable to stop thinking about it.