Review: Midnight Special (2016)
Directed: Jeff Nichols
Featuring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepherd and Jaeden Lieberher.
Jeff Nichols the director who brought us Mud (2012), Take Shelter (2011) and Shotgun Stories (2007) brings us another genre bending story Midnight Special along with regular collaborator the always-excellent Michael Shannon.
This story sees a father and son on the run because of the formers seemingly alien abilities; the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special powers pursue them. To give too much away would spoil the adventure that unfolds so this will be completely spoiler free.
“Midnight Special” is Nichols working Sci-Fi on a budget with a conspiracy thriller thrown in for good measure. For most of its running time the film zips along with more questions being asked than answered.
Its great to see a good cast all giving believable performances, possibly the only under utilized actor is Dunst who shines whilst onscreen. It’s a shame her onscreen role is not a little meatier; it would have been great to see Shannon and her in the same scenes really watching wits.
As already stated Michael Shannon delivers another great performance. It says a lot for the actor that even when he is in mediocre fair he still stands out. And in this film he is center stage along with “St. Vincent” (2015) star Jaeden Lieberher who is phenomenal as the victim/antagonist, he plays the part to a T.
The film owes much to what has become the Spielberg effect, which can be seen more recently in J.J. Abrams “Super 8” (2011) which feels like a film in the same universe. This is not a negative but it would have been nice seeing Nichols with a larger budget. I have feeling we will see Nichols in a bigger budget film in the next few years.