Main Plot Points:
- Writer/director Jeff Nichols proves again that he is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time with the sci-fi thriller “Midnight Special.” A provocative, genre-defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human, it follows a father, Roy (Michael Shannon), who goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), a boy with mysterious powers that even Roy himself cannot comprehend.
- What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Risking everything, Roy is committed to helping Alton reach his ultimate purpose, whatever that might be and whatever it costs, in a story that takes audiences on a perilous journey from Texas to the Florida coast, while exploring the bonds of love and trust, and the nature of faith.
What We Thought:
- I didn’t see a trailer for Midnight Special prior to seeing it. I knew Michael Shannon was in it and that was good enough for me. I think not knowing anything about the film helped, but the film is good enough even knowing what it‘s about.
- Director Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon make a great team. Nichols has become a solid director for me whose films I now look forward to seeing. Add in this movie and his next movie is a must see to me without even knowing anything about it.
- Then there’s Michael Shannon. The dude is one of the best actors going. Whether he’s the lead (like in this), a supporting role (like in 99 Homes) or even a glorified cameo (The Night Before), he takes what he’s given and makes it great. Well besides Man of Steel, that’s not his fault though. I just need to see his name in a film to be interested, he’s that good to me.
- But the big stand out is young actor Jaeden Lieberher. He’s simply amazing in this. I mean amazing, just ridiculously good. Again, I hadn’t seen a trailer so I wasn’t aware of his character arch, but it wouldn’t have mattered. This kid is THAT good in the movie. I thought he was really good opposite Bill Murray in St. Vincent, but he’s even better in this. Learn his name folks.
- The supporting cast is just as good. I’ve liked Joel Edgerton for years now and he’s good opposite Shannon. I think this is the best performance from Kirsten Dunst in probably a decade. Adam Driver has become a solid actor I look forward to seeing and can you ever go wrong with Sam Shepard? No, you can’t.
- Then there’s the actual story. If you don’t know what it’s about and haven’t seen a trailer, skip this part, you don’t need to know. I had no idea there was an alien/out of body type storyline to the film. I won’t get into details because you don’t need to know, but the film has a cool Close Encounters of the Third Kind vibe mixed with a little bit E.T. (probably because of the young boy) plus (and I know others didn’t like it) Tomorrowland added as well. Try not to know anything about it and just go. If you like sci-fi, you’ll like this.
- If you like Jeff Nichols, you’ll like Midnight Special. If you like Michael Shannon, you’ll like it too. Everything about the movie is solid to me. The acting is good especially the young boy. The direction is great and keeps the intensity there with really good pacing. The film never feels slow, but isn’t rushed either. It’s smart and just really good.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Michael Shannon
- Kirsten Dunst
- Adam Driver
- Joel Edgerton
Recommended if You Like:
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- Take Shelter
- Jeff Nichols and/or Michael Shannon