Sunday, April 10, 2016

Midnight Special

Movie Name: Midnight Special
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Paul Sparks, David Jensen
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Synopsis & Review:
Director Jeff Nichols is back, with another stunning film, following his wonderful last feature "Mud". "Midnight Special" places us directly in the midst of a chase that is taking place: Roy, Lucas and Roy's son Alton, are running from the law, and Roy is being the target of the chase since he's considered to have kidnapped the little boy. We slowly realize that Alton is slightly different, always wearing his goggles and muffles. Alton was taken from a cult like organization in the middle of Texas, where he and his parents had been living, before his mom fled, the same going for his dad, who in turn got Alton out of there with the intent of taking him to some geographical location that Alton has described. The chase is now being brought on by both the cult who wants Alton back and the FBI, who are stunned that a young boy can decrypt confidential information from satellites. As the story progresses we witness the extent of Alton's uniqueness and why everyone wants to capture him so intently.
"Midnight Special" is definitely a continuation of some of the themes that Jeff Nichols already brought forth in "Mud", namely the close relationship between a father figure and the young boy who's maturing and finding his own path in the world. Where the film is quite different, is the more fantastical side of the nature of the young boy, which is treated not like a traditional blockbuster/visual effects extravaganza: Alton is for all intended purposes the child of these concerned parents who are stopping at nothing to save him and get him where he needs to be. The family dynamics gives the film the heart and unique sensibility that really distances it from other sci-fi films that have been done. The film smartly captures the influences of John Carpenter's films from the early 80s (such as "Starman"), and is very well acted, with Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Jaeden Lieberher all creating great, believable characters. The cinematography from Adam Stone is beautiful as is the score from David Wingo. Another great film from Jeff Nichols. Highly recommended.