MIDNIGHT SPECIAL Reviewed
Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher
Jeff Nichols is the director of three of my favorite movies over the last few years: SHOTGUN STORIES, TAKE SHELTER and MUD. All of them feature father/child relationships and MIDNIGHT SPECIAL carries that theme to its most poignant conclusion.
Two parents (Shannon and Dunst) have an ill child who also has some otherworldly gifts. Not knowing what to make of his “gifts” they have handed him over to a cult (think FLDS) who believes him to be an important harbinger of the second coming/apocalypse–you name it. This part of the film gets short shrift however and Ray, along with his old pal, kidnap the boy and try to get him back to his mother (Dunst). Enter also the evil government/ scientists. The majority of the film is a chase. The film brings in elements from eighties sci-fi films, government chase dramas and the idea of a child in jeopardy. In this case, the child understands his situation better than the adults.
This was my least favorite of Nichols’ films and I especially thought the ending was a disaster. An important lesson was disregarded. Don’t spend too much time letting the audience see the monster. Or in this case: don’t let them see what we saw. Mildly recommended if you want to be up on Nichols’s films. The next one, LOVING, looks to be something completely different.