Midnight Special (2016) Movie Review
“Midnight Special” tells the story of a young boy (Jaeden Lieberher) on the run with his father (Michael Shannon) from the government, who seek the young boy because of his special possessed powers that he endures. The film also features Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Joel Edgerton (The Gift).
This film is quite a mystery to behold, for we don’t know as an audience how this boy got these powers or why. We also don’t know how long he has had them, or what he is fully capable of. But yet, this film is still reviving, and truly a special science fiction film to experience because we know just enough, but it doesn’t stuff it’s audience with exposition and actually lets a fantastic story come through.
Science Fiction is a genre that has suddenly started to turn into spacey-blockbuster at this point. It’s really rare to find that true sci-fi gem that’s actually really great, like E.T or Alien(s). Midnight Special has reborn the genre proving that less is more in nearly every aspect. It works on so many levels and is really affecting to watch.
This movie is intriguing from start to finish, which is due to great directing and writing from Jeff Nichols. He hooks the audience in a slow but constantly piece film that always seem to be a step ahead of the audience. As an audience, we don’t know where they are taking the boy. We don’t know why, but we just get to sit and watch as the story unfolds. It’s really hooking because of how Nichols directs, he uses slow character-building scenes to get viewers more attached and sucked in the story. This is more than just a sci-fi film, it’s really actually a beautiful film. He manages to write in such well-crafted and realized characters and even if you don’t always know what they are doing certain things for, you still stick with them. That’s thanks to truly great directing and writing that make the film so engaging.
The shots are hooking and beautiful, truly fantastic cinematography from Adam Stone. He uses angles, lighting and sound perfectly and the tone of the film is really nailed from this. It’s a very quiet and reflective film, but there is always a feeling of tension because of the government right on their tracks. Great suspense make this film’s craft even more respectable.
This film truly looks beautiful, from the cinematography to the visuals. This film is very limited and restrained with it’s use of visual effects, but whenever the film has visuals, they are spectacular. They truly look realistic and the fact that they are very limited, it makes the world seem more realistic and actually manages to make the story more compelling as whole.
Another outstanding aspect of this film are the performances. They are all absolutely terrific, from a great child performance from first-comer Jaeden Lieberher, to Michael Shannon, Adam Driver and Kirsten Dunst. They all really become unrecognizable in their characters and deliver some of the more genuine, calmer yet better performances of the year. You really feel their genuine emotion and it makes the great character development more worthwhile.
This film is well-crafted, soulful and meaningfully deep. It’s technically flawless and a further installment in modern day scfi. This is a terrific scfi film that even though does feel a little slow due to it’s PG-13 rating. You can tell there were points where the story-line could have been stretched out a little more, but otherwise is fantastic. It is a film that really can be otherwise appreciated for it’s near-perfect craft. It’s not a film for everyone, but those looking for a different original film can find one in Midnight Special. A special film.
CONSENSUS: “Midnight Special” not only proves that less is more and has in a way, reborn a lost genre, but truly touches its audience with a beautiful sci-fi tale that’s well-crafted, beautifully acted and nearly flawlessly directed. It’s quiet and meaningful, which make it’s gritty realism come to stand in this fantastic atmospheric film.