By Michael Kaye
Midnight Special (Review)
Being a film fan in a relatively small town can sometimes be frustrating. I may get lucky every once in a while, but for the most part there are a LOT of limited released films that completely pass me by. Sometimes it's not really that big of a deal, especially if it has a day and date release on VOD. But when the film in question is one of my most anticipated of the year, that's when I start becoming impatient. Fortunately, the wait is over, as I finally got a chance to see Midnight Special on Digital HD.
Here's the story. A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child's special powers.
Good Lord was this worth the wait! Part of me was a little worried that the movie wouldn't live up to the massive amount of hype, but I don't have to worry about that anymore. Here are some of the highlights.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, the cast is excellent. Director Jeff Nichols always seems to find the perfect actors to be in his films, including the ever-awesome Michael Shannon, who plays Roy, the man who supposedly "kidnapped" his son Alton Meyer, played by Jaeden Lieberher. I gotta say, I'm pretty jealous of this new batch of child actors who pretty much blow previous generations out of the water. And the fact that he shares genuine chemistry with Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst, who plays his mother Sarah Tomlin, shows that he's got a long career ahead of him. Also great in this movie are Joel Edgerton as Roy's friend Lucas, and Adam Driver as Paul Sevier.
Jeff Nichols really outdid himself directing this film. I'm not quite ready to say this is his best work, but it's certainly his most ambitious. Even though he's working with more visual effects than any of his previous films, he still keeps the focus of the story on the characters. If you're at all familiar with sci-fi, you can tell that Nichols was clearly inspired by the early works of Steven Spielberg, particularly Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. That being said, it still has its own unique voice, and if he had any interest in pursuing a major blockbuster franchise in the future, I have no doubt that he'll be up for the challenge.
The story itself is a fascinating one for sure. They establish pretty early on that Alton is essentially the chosen one, worshipped by a Texas-based religious cult. And since he has special abilities, naturally he piques the interest of the federal government, who seek to use him as a weapon. As I mentioned before, what works the most about this film is that the stakes are relatively low, with the primary goal being escaping those in pursuit of Alton in order to find his way home. Speaking of which, Alton's world looks pretty cool, almost reminiscent of Tomorrowland in the everglade.
Finally, one more thing I want to discuss is the ending. I don't wanna completely give it away, but it's something that not everyone is satisfied with. Some people even go as far as to say that it ruined the entire film. Now I disagree with that last part entirely, though I can understand if you simply feel they could have ended the film differently.
Midnight Special is seriously one of the best films that nobody saw this year. I hope this film gains a cult following within the sci-fi community, cause there's a lot to love here. It's got a great cast, incredible direction, and a well written story inspired by some of the all time classics of the genre. Midnight Special is now available on Digital HD, so if you have yet to see this movie, you need to fix that ASAP!
Now it's your turn. Have you seen Midnight Special, and if so what did you think? Also, what are your favorite cult classic sci-fi films of all time? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my next review, where the fate of future video game movies lies in Duncan Jones's fantasy epic Warcraft!