MIDNIGHT SPECIAL [2016]

midnight-special-movie-review-894984

Directed by Jeff Nichols

Written by Jeff Nichols

Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Jaeden Lieberher, Adam Driver


As ever, the rock I live under casts quite the shadow as yet another name I should know of quietly releases their new film. One day I’ll make time to watch Mud, but it is 2016 and happily Jeff Nichol’s new film made it to Australian screens not long after the US and UK. This is one of those films you go dark into, so I’ll refrain from writing much. The film starts in a hotel room, where Roy and his old friend Lucas are hiding with Roy’s son, Alton, who is hiding under a sheet reading comics with a torch.

It is night and they have all the windows covered, with a piece of duct tape over the peep-hole. Roy and Lucas decide it is time to move, as the television news is announcing Roy as a kidnapper. They load up their weapons as the news continues about Roy, who seems to have kidnapped his own son. But why? What is happening? It is an instantly intriguing introduction and the ambiguity of it makes it all the more captivating.

midnight-special-review

Roy is willing to do anything for his son, and the trio hit the road as soon as they see the news article reporting Alton as kidnapped. As the film progresses, layers are gradually peeled away, slowly revealing what it is that makes Alton special. Roy and Lucas have it tough as they are pursued by a doomsday cult and the US government, all while dealing with Alton’s different needs and behaviour.


A road film as well as a sci-fi mystery, Midnight Special is very unique. Its best feature is how human it feels, as traditional family dynamics are tested in an interesting way.4.5 beer - no beer top The bonds formed are tight, though the characters are a little two dimensional. This was perhaps intentional, as it helps Alton to stand out from the rest of the cast. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first two acts, after everything that had happened, I found the culmination of it all to be very underwhelming. I must commend this film though for its creativity, especially within the sci-fi genre. It is worth watching. Unfortunately though it falls short of its lofty goals. A memorable but flawed film.

One and a half sixers short of a six-pack

4.5/6

10 Comments on “MIDNIGHT SPECIAL [2016]

  1. This is one I’ve been waiting to see. I like Michael Shannon a lot, and Mud was great, sooo….I’m sorry to hear it’s flawed, but 4.5/6 is a pretty good rating and I’m sure I’ll rent it here soon. Nice review, Jordan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s flawed in my opinion, I have read many extreeemely positive reviews so I may be in the minority. Shannon is great here, as is Edgerton, who is my fave Aussie export at the moment 😀 And while I think its flawed, its still a very interesting movie. I think you’ll like it

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good review. Despite its flaws I’m glad we caught it, and it sounds like you felt the same way.

    Like

  3. I’m really gutted this wasn’t available to watch in any cinema near me. I’ll definitely be renting this for Shannon, and I was impressed by Nichol’s MUD as well.

    Like

    • It seems I need to check out Mud, I’m hearing a lot about it. Shannon is great in this, as is Dunst and I’ll always be biased when Joel Edgerton is involved 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I should check this out. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Nichols’s previous work, and those were also raved about, so we will have to see how this goes. Great write up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Zoë 🙂 I can’t comment on his previous stuff, but while I didn’t like the ending, it seems to be pretty divisive. I’d give it a chance as it is a really interesting story, with Shannon and Edgo at the top of their game. The child actor is quite good too

      Liked by 1 person

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