Monday, March 28, 2016

Warner Brothers Film Review - Midnight Special

The film opens in the middle of a tense situation. Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are held up in a hotel room with a young boy (Jaeden Lieberher) oblivious to his surroundings wearing goggles and playing with a flashlight under a sheet. The windows are all backed out while the television gives more information . The boy Alton Meyer has been abducted and is the subject of an Amber Alert then a picture of Roy Tomlin flashes on the screen.

As the action progresses we learn that Alton is a child with special talents. The goggles protect eyes that produce white beams of light. He can effect objects with his thoughts and speak in incomprehensible languages. Soon the trio come across people looking for Alton other than regular law enforcement. NSA analyst Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) leads the charge from the Federal government. The leaders of a religious sect that Tomlin and Alton were former members are also hot on their trial.

Writer Director Jeff Nichols had a vision of a road film with a subtle sci-fi element for this film. His first image was of two guys driving down back roads in the American south with no lights on. Nichols was also heavily influenced by sci-fi chase films like E.T, Close Encounters and Starman. He also wanted to make a father and son picture but focus on how fragile a young child can be and how a parent can be fearful of that fragility. But that fear needs to change to helping your child reach their potential.

The troika arrive at Alton's mother (Kristen Dunst) house to avoid detection and a vehicle change.
Sarah is very happy to see her son but knows that he is on a journey that neither she, Roy or Lucas fully understand. Soon the group are back on the road where they are confronted and Alton falls into the hands of the government that see him as a National Security threat.

Michael Shannon dominates the action as Roy the protective father that is determined to let his son reach his destiny. Joel Edgerton delivers another in a series of strong performances as Roys childhood friend Lucas who has a law enforcement background and is willing to follow this family to the end of the road.  Adam Driver role is understated as the NSA operative Paul Seiver. He is fascinated by Alton and not sure if prodding and poking in government custody is the best place for the boy. He also wants to see the child fulfill his destiny.

Midnight Special is a sci-fi road film with mainly understated effects that force the audience to fill in the gaps with their imagination. Director Nichols once again presents a story though a child where the audience has to think and participate in the narrative. Its' a different take on science fiction and a chase film that I can recommend.

*** Out of 4.

Midnight Special | Jeff Nichols | U.S.A. | 2016 | 111 Minutes.

Tags: Amber Alert, NSA, Fugitive, Alien, Transcend, Father-Son, NSA, Religious Cult.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review. I think I would normally pass on this but Ireally like Michael Shannon.