This is fairly effective throwback to 1970s or 1980s earth-based sci-fi movies, in the vein of 'Starman' or 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' or even 'Firestarter'. Don't expect a crazy special effects budget, though. It will likely be more meaningful if you have kids, or if you really like a slow-burn mystery you have to piece together as you go.
Michael Shannon is terrific, as always, but not as note-perfect as he was in 'Take Shelter' (a film I would recommend before this one), and Kisten Dunst is actually... well, a little wasted. I'm not even sure why her character exists in this film. Her presence certainly dilutes the father/son relationship in the final act.
'Midnight Special' actually feels a bit like a Stephen King adaptation because, like most of King's work, this film doesn't quite nail the ending. But still, it's worth a watch if you're into soulful, character-based sci-fi.
There are certain movies that I love and completely understand why others wouldn't like them. Then there are movies where I simply can't understand how someone could sit through it and not be affected by it in any way. This is one of those movies
What is going on with the ratings on here? 25%? Did a hatemob rate this film? It's an effective homage to 80s sci-fi flicks. Nothing more. Nothing less. But certainly not 25% "worst movie ever" material. 7.2 on imdb, 78 on metacritic. Let's just say professional critics are usually a bit more trustworthy than trakt users...
After the strange, ethereal and entertaining Take Shelter I was keen to see what Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon would bring to the table with Midnight Special. I was not disappointed.
I am not the first nor the last to note immediately that his film is a close relative of several films, notable E.T., Close Encounter of the Third Kind and possibly Star Man but those that think they are being clever criticising Jeff Nichols for this are contributing nothing to the debate. In several interviews he has admitted the influences and wanting to make a similar type film. For my part I say none of these were made by Jeff Nichols and therefore it is obvious that Midnight Special whilst born of these films goes its own way.
There is no cheese ball romanticism in this film. Michael Shannon brings his intense, strong, believable character acting to the film and from the very moment you are introduced to him you believe he really wants to save his son and he really will do anything to do so. Having said that it is Michael Shannon so for this type of role I’m guessing you point the camera at him and sit back and have a cup of coffee and not worry. In Midnight Special Mr Shannon proves that maybe I’m not as daft as I sound. Alongside Joel Edgerton, who I sort of didn’t recognise to start off with, he seems bulked up, you have two great unflashy actors at the top of their game producing and believable non-buddy road movie of sorts.
Then you throw into the mix Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst and remarkable child-actor Jaeden Lieberher and you have a perfect cast. Every time I see Adam Driver I like him as an actor more. Here he plays and intelligently written and motive NSA character and plays it more like you would imagine a real agent would be. Perfect, break the Hollywood mould for these roles.
The film is written by Jeff Nichols who is clearly influences by the great film directors but also can spot a Hollywood cliché at fifty paces. As always with his films you are never quite sure what direction he is taking you in but you know he’ll get to the point with some great pacing and beautifully filmed locations. Not only this but Nichols refuses to pander to audiences and leaves who series of questions unanswered where the viewer has to make their mind up. Thank you Mr Nichols.
Unfortunately I believe on its cinema release Midnight Special did not set the box-office alight, not enough exploding cars and incredible stunts I suppose. Does this mean that Jeff Nichols will have to compromise on his unique visions and cinematic ideas? I for one hope not but I fear it is very difficult to make films without money and some backing.
Every person involved in Midnight Special needs to take a bow. Congratulations on making an intelligent, thought-provoking film made without compromise to current trends and pandering. Something to be proud of. I wish I was billionaire so I could fund film-makers like this to see where they go but alas I have no influence….
Every person involved in Midnight Special needs to take a bow. Congratulations on making an intelligent, thought-provoking film made without compromise to current trends and pandering. Something to be proud of. I wish I was billionaire so I could fund film-makers like this to see where the go but alas I have no influence….
The potential is sky high for Midnight Special and the cast is great. I really enjoyed the movie but there is a very painful lack of depth. I feel like this could've been the movie of the year and it just didn't quite get there.