Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Indie Review: Midnight Special (2016)

                                      'Midnight Special' Glows
            Well.....this one was certainly worth the long wait!

     Midnight Special follows the story of a father named Roy (Michael Shannon) who is on the run from the government and a religious cult with his friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) and his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) who is gifted with special abilities and may not be exactly from Earth.

    One thing that I loved so much about the movie is that even though we get a good amount of visual effects, they are able to compliment and aid the story rather than overshadow it. It's a lot like last year's Ex Machina along with classics like E.T.. That is thanks in large part to director Jeff Nichols who chooses to go for more restraint and simplicity. Its simplicity resembles that of older science fiction films and it was a real treat going back and being nostalgic.

    I also appreciated how the film shows us every angle. We not only see the point of view of the family on the run but also the government as well as the religious cult that put Alton under their wing. That way, the film isn't all one-sided. In fact, the government isn't necessarily portrayed as negatively as in other science fiction films. That is in large part thanks to the character of Paul Sevier, played by Adam Driver, who is a government agent curiously trying to piece the whole puzzle together about why this family is on the run in the first place.

     The actors also do a terrific job. Michael Shannon plays perhaps the warmest character i've ever seen him play as the desperate yet compassionate Roy. Usually, Shannon is typecast as villains or crazies like in director Jeff Nichols' previous film Take Shelter. So, it was nice to see Shannon given something different. Aside from Shannon and Adam Driver, I thought Joel Edgerton was terrific as always as Roy's mostly silent yet incredibly loyal friend Lucas and Kirsten Dunst, who plays Alton's mother, is a very warm presence on screen. Jaeden Lieberher, who audiences might've caught in St. Vincent, is also quite good as the super-powered and wise beyond his years Alton and here's hoping this kid has a long and bright career ahead of him.


     Overall, Midnight Special is a simple gem whose simplicity and restraint brings us back to the old glory days of science fiction. It's extremely well-acted, has a multi-faceted storyline, and is complimented by amazing visual effects.

Grade: A+