Sunday, April 17, 2016



From IMDB:


A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child's special powers.

Midnight Special (2016) on IMDb

Reviews 48 user | 152 critic

From Rotten Tomatoes:


Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, and Kirsten Dunst star in writer/director Jeff Nichols' drama about a father and his eight-year-old son who go on the lam upon discovering that the boy possesses mysterious powers. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Rating: PG-13 (for some violence and action)
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: Jeff Nichols
Written By: Jeff Nichols
In Theaters: Mar 18, 2016 Limited
Box Office: $1.0M
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site

Average Rating: 7.4/10 | Reviews Counted: 151
Fresh: 125 | Rotten: 26
Critics Consensus: Midnight Special's intriguing mysteries may not resolve themselves to every viewer's liking, but the journey is ambitious, entertaining, and terrifically acted.
AUDIENCE SCORE 76% liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5 | User Ratings: 12,120


This is Alton. He's not like other kids. That's why he wears those blue goggles. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

The movie where General Zod tells a little kid that Superman isn't real...

So a few days ago I had the chance to watch Midnight Special courtesy of Going in I had no idea what this movie was about and in fact I hadn't even seen the trailer for it. And also I kept confusing the title for the time the movie was going to begin. While I was waiting for it to start I decided to look it up and that's when I read that short little synopsis up there and found out that Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher and Adam Driver. The average movie goer who's been to watch the recent big draws will recognize Michael Shannon most recently as the dead General Zod in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Adam Driver as the emotionally unstable leader of the First Order in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

This is Roy, Alton's dad. He's got a lot on his shoulders right now. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

So what is this movie about and can it be explained by just one sentence? Well, to answer the second part of that, yes. That's the whole story. A father played by Michael Shannon named Roy with the help of his best friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) have taken Roy's son Alton on the run from a religious cult which they used to belong to. The cult believe that Alton has a direct link to God and that with his help they'll be able to get to heaven. On the trail of Roy, Lucas and Alton are also the government represented by the FBI and a representative from the NSA, a man named Paul Sevier. The want to know how the sermon's given by the cult leader, Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard) contains secret government information which he says came from Alton. 

If this was a Marvel movie Alton would be considered a mutant but he's nothing like that. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

Right from the get go this movie puts right in the middle of the story. You see Roy and Lucas holed up in a motel somewhere and Alton hiding under a blanket reading comic books with a flashlight. Your introduction to the cult the left behind comes when their leader along with his assistants Doak (Bill Camp) and Levi (Scott Haze) watch a news report about Alton's abduction. As Meyer prepares to address his congregation the FBI shows up and carts everyone off to a high school to interview each member of the cult regarding Alton and his father. The interview is handled by Paul Sevier of the NSA 

Alton did this all on his own and no one knows how. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

Their escape takes them to a home of a former cult member but soon their stay is cut short when the former cult member isn't able to hold back his curiosity regarding Alton's ability. They run again heading to the home of Alton's mother, on their way they stop at a gas station and there Alton does something unbelievable because he doesn't want the government to follow him. Soon they reach the home of Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) where they rest and plan the next stage of their journey but unknown to them hot on their heels is Doak and Levi. 

The movie ends with Roy and Lucas drawing the attention of the government while Sarah and Alton head off by themselves to the location that Alton says he needs to be. 

His abilities are pretty impressive. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

As I mentioned before this movie drops you right in the middle of things. You don't see Alton and his father at the cult's ranch living their lives up til the moment they decide to leave, you don't even get flashbacks of it. You don't get to find out what exactly Alton's abilities are that the cult believes him to be their saviour and in fact you are only fed bits and pieces of Alton's abilities throughout the film. Your introduction to the main characters and what drives them aren't driven by much dialogue or exposition either. I found myself at times thinking was there another movie before this one? Is this movie a sequel? Why? Because it very much felt like it. Like I was missing an entire movie that told the story of what happened to Roy, Lucas and Alton before this. But of course there isn't one.

You get this feeling that he might be from out of this world but he isn't. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

So does that mean that I didn't like this movie? Or that this movie has a flawed narrative? Not at all. I totally enjoyed this movie. It's one of those rare films that requires an active participation of the viewer to fill in the gaps themselves. To use the few lines said by the actors and add to that the actions and expressions of the actors in the scene to make it a complete one. And that's where the true gem of this movie is, in director Jeff Nichols deft hands the story is told very subtly and brilliantly through a very expressive cast. 

When the NSA is interested in you, that's a huge deal. ©Warner Bros. Pictures

The story has been done before, a uniquely gifted individual who is misunderstood and is wanted by certain groups who will stop at nothing to get them back as does the government. The parent or a close friend who believes this gifted person is meant for greater things and who sacrifices everything to make sure that they meet their destiny. The way the story unravels is pretty predictable if you're familiar with the story but how it unravels is where this movie's strength is and by that I mean the brilliant performances of the cast. Michael Shannon was absolutely brilliant playing the concerned father Roy, his many emotions for the situation he finds himself and his son in playing on his expressions and body language. His reluctant reliance on his best friend Lucas when he had no one else to turn to when he needed help. And then there's Lucas who's trust in Roy and who's belief in Alton is in constant battle with his concern for the well being of father and son. 

Alton didn't make this room empty but he did do something else. ©Warner Bros. Pictures
Then there's the curious Paul Sevier who's interest in Alton goes from a guarded curiosity of Alton due to his work with the NSA to one of a child like one once he meets with Alton. And finally Alton's mother Sarah who's awe and amazement of her son can be seen just beneath her worry and love for him. 

I really enjoyed Midnight Special and I'm going to give it a solid 3.5 out o 5.

Here's the trailer for you to check out. 


1 comment:

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