MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Jeff Nichols / Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver / Drama-Thriller-Sci-Fi / 2016 / 12A / 111mins

Genre bending tale from the man who brought us Take Shelter, Jeff Nichols’s new feature follows a mysterious young boy on the run.

Determined father Roy (Michael Shannon) and his childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) take Roy’s son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) from a religious cult to avoid detection from the FBI. Alton, you see, has a gift – light shines from his eyes and he can hear messages from the stars…

The plot is farfetched but conveyed with such maturity that you have to applaud the composition of the piece. One minute drama, the next thriller, the following sci-fi… it’s a rollercoaster of genres that, most importantly, cohere. It’s classic Spielberg adventure wonderment but with less family, more grit.

This wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic cast. Standout actor: Michael Shannon is grossly underappreciated, who can and will win an Oscar. His time is not now, but my word he’s building toward it. As Roy he builds a character that is resolute in his interpretation of his son’s abilities even if they seem dubious at first. It’s a striking father-son relationship. The rest of the cast maintain the relentlessly creepy thrillride and draw you further to the allure of Alton.

Minimal CGI was used to great effect. It elevated the film and created the grandiose aura that it deserved. Full marks there BUTTT it’s long, which is unfortunate – it could have been much shorter. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect the film per se – it may drag on for some, but the story was allowed to flourish as a result. I was engrossed from start to finish. Alton is a character you won’t forget in a hurry.

A wonderfully inventive indie, Midnight Special deserves more credit than the marketing lets on and is by all means a hidden gem. If you can outlast the length, that is.

Film as a film=4 / Target Audience=4 / General Audience=3

GRADE

B+

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MAIN PICTURE:

By Source, Fair use, via Wikipedia.

This is a poster for Midnight Special.
The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Warner Bros. Pictures, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.

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