“Midnight Special” combines million dollar effects with a really low budget backdrop. It’s an odd combination that works on a sci fi level with mixed results.
“Midnight Special is a 2016 American science fiction-drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols, and produced by Sarah Green and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. The film stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, and Jaeden Lieberher.[ The film is Nichols’ fourth full-length film and his first studio production.[ It was selected to compete for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
The film revolves around Roy and his biological son, Alton Meyer, escaping federal and local officers, after discovering that Alton has special powers.
The film began a theatrical release on March 18, 2016 by Warner Bros. Pictures, expanding wider in subsequent weeks. It has garnered positive reviews from film critics.” (Wikipedia)
If you recall the Heaven’s Gate cult, you’ll think you’re there in the beginning. A cult, though never identified as religious, is always annoying to me in movies. The exception of this was “Big Love” on HBO a while back. I liked the humor of a polygamist living as a Mormon with his bitchy wives. That worked on a comic level.
This film unfortunately kept me hanging and didn’t deliver. I expect sci fi to be sort of in inner adventure. The thrill of creativity and invention is always there, beckoning me to the screen with popcorn in my mouth.
From this point, there may be minor spoilers.
In this film, it’s a chase that is only barely a thrill. There’s nothing thoughtful or new.
I also like sci fi that presents another world. That is damn interesting when done right. I’m reminded of Lucas’ THX. We get to see what these magical dopplegangers of us do on a higher plane. We get allusions to that world but it is never shown. Having said that, there is light, a lot of light. The way it bleeds like milk reminded me of “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.”
A LOT is left unexplained. I kept hoping it would make sense. As a married man, I had to keep reassuring my wife it would make sense. She pretty much hoped for the same thing I did. I am shocked so many critics are lauding this film. As usual when I dislike a movie, I will go and read a few of them. It’s averaging in the high 80’s on Rotten Tomatoes and elsewhere. S, you maybe should see it on that basis until I get my head together.
Until then, Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst have me stumped on this one. They are 2 of my favorite actors but I honestly did not find much joy in them delivering their roles. I’m sorry to say this one did not do it for me. Because I could watch Michael Shannon read food labels and be entertained (check out “Take Shelter”) it only lost 2 stars.