“Midnight Special” plays around with superstitions and an intriguing plot that keeps you thinking.
It is the kind of tale where a little boy is discovered with special unknown powers and the government think that he’s a weapon / threat while a religious cult treats him like he’s “sent from God”.
The story follows a devoted father, Roy Tomlin (played by Michael Shannon), who goes on a run to protect his young son, Alton Meyers (played by Jaeden Lieberher), a boy with mysterious powers that even Roy himself cannot comprehend.
What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcements quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Risking everything, Roy is committed to helping Alton reach his ultimate purpose, whatever that might be and whatever it costs, in a story that takes audiences on a perilous journey from Texas to the Florida coast, while exploring the bonds of love and trust, and the nature of faith.
“Midnight Special” is essentially about how every parent thinks that their child is special and how they would go to extreme lengths and sacrifices to make sure that they keep their baby safe. In this case, it’s to ensure that Alton becomes what he is meant to become, even though he might never come back again.
The film’s intensity builds up scene by scene. At first, the idea of Alton’s powers are very vague, then when you think you understand what his powers are, something new comes up and you have to analyse it all over again. Great child actors are always hard to find – although Lieberher is only 13 years old, his acting definitely left us in awe.
For a sci-fi film, director Jeff Nichols didn’t use a whole lot of special CG effects throughout the movie. The times that he did, though, it was dramatically stunning. The cinematography, done by Nichols’ long-time friend and partner Adam Stone, gave off a strong 80s Steven Spielberg vibe to it.
If we had to describe it in 3 words, it would be:
intense, powerful, and beautiful.
That only thing that we didn’t like about the film was the lack of explanation. Although the plot was good enough to keep your heart pumping, “Midnight Madness” shows a lot but tells little. There were certain moments where we wished more dialogue was involved instead of body gestures and long silences.
Another highlight of the movie was (drum roll please) Adam Driver!
You may know him as bad boy Kylo Ren from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. In “Midnight Special”, he plays a nervous but intelligent NSA agent that acts as a comic relief at times. It’s very hard for us to see him as Kylo Ren now because he did such a good job in this film.
Surprisingly, there were also several “Superman” Easter eggs in the film, including scenes where Alton was reading Superman comic books throughout the whole film. And let’s not forget that Michael Shannon played General Zod in “Man Of Steel” (2013).
We think what Nichols is trying to say through this film is how this mini-Superman is learning to live as himself, rather than struggling to be a part of the world he doesn’t belong in.
“Midnight Special” also stars Kirsten Dunst as Alton’s mother, Josh Edgerton as Lucas, Sam Shephard as the cult leader, and Adam Driver as Paul Sevier, a National Safety Authority (NSA) agent.
Check out the trailer below:
“Midnight Special” is out in a cinema near you now.
For more information, visit the film’s website.