Movie Breakdown: Midnight Special

March 17, 2016


Pre-Screening Stance:

As far as I’m concerned, Jeff Nichols has yet to make a bad film.  Shotgun Stories, Mud, Take Shelter – they’re all pretty damn great.  This leaves me with no choice but to assume that the sci-fi-looking Midnight Special will for sure be another brilliant effort by the writer/director.

Post-Screening Ramble:

If you’ve read anything about Midnight Special, then you’ve probably seen people reference Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T.  That’s pretty accurate, as the film does indeed feel like a healthy mix of the two Spielberg flicks.  I will say this though, even with those easy-to-make comparisons, writer/director Jeff Nichols does still manage to make Midnight Special feel like its own thing.

The film is about two men (played by the ever-fantastic Michael Shannon and a very earnest Joel Edgerton) trying to get a strangely gifted young boy (played gingerly by Jaeden Lieberher) to a specific location.  They don’t know why the location is significant, they just know they have get the kid, Alton, there by a certain date.  There’s also something else at play, Alton has been reported as kidnapped, which in turn means that Midnight Special is also a chase movie.  So, aside from the obvious sci-fi angle that’s there to dazzle you, the film also has a healthy dose of intensity and suspense that comes from its main characters being on the run and operating on a very tight schedule.  I won’t say anything more, as it’s a film that can be easily spoiled and is totally best left fully experienced in theater, but just know that it has a lot more to offer than what I just slapped down here.  As soon as you can, run to the theater and take in the prime example of brilliant storytelling that is Midnight Special.

One Last Thought:

Isn’t it about time that Hollywood just started tossing Michael Shannon in everything?  I think so.  That guy is so good.


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