Midnight Special directed by Jeff Nichols starring Michael Shannon, Joel Egerton and Jaeden Lieberher is a Sci-Fi thriller that pays homage to films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Starman. Shannon plays Roy who along with his childhood friend Lucas (Egerton), abduct his biological son Alton Meyer from a religious cult based in Texas. Alton is a special individual who has a destiny to fulfill that we won’t get into due to spoilers. Let’s just say, because of these gifts Alton possesses, both the religious cult leaders and our government want him in their custody. This leads to a game of cat and mouse across the South as the powers at be close in Alton and his father who will do anything to protect him.
Midnight Special presents a grand idea that is still in a small package in terms of filmmaking with a reported budget of $23 million. As an audience member you are thrown into the mystery surrounding this little boy and taken on at times an intense ride wondering who’s right, wrong, good or bad. Midnight Special can be a slow burn leaving the audience in the dark as to what exactly is happening. What will get you though the downtime in Midnight Special is the strong acting work of Shannon, Egerton and Lieberher.
Shannon brings his intense style to the role of former cult member Roy. At times you can’t tell if Roy is the hero or a man unhinged that will go to the ends of the earth to help his son. Egerton continues to show his chameleon abilities as an actor morphing into his role as a normal guy caught up in the madness. The three key players at the center of Midnight Special are total mysteries at times to the audience as well. A more in-depth back story could have really helped the viewer understand our players’ motives. The three actors could have been cookie cutter type characters on-screen, but they bring more to their roles and will help you get through the slow periods of Midnight Special.
Besides the pace that can wear on you at times as you wait for the next big event to happen (There are some big moments), Midnight Special will leave you with a feeling of what could have been. You’ll ponder many questions during and after the film with many of the angles in the story being unexplained or ignored at the end. The grand idea presented is not the problem in the film. It’s the fact the payoff at the end doesn’t answer enough questions to make Midnight Special the unique experience it could have been. A little mystery is fine, but Midnight Special is missing the closure that would have made it a complete film.
Overall, I give Midnight Special 2.75 out 4 stars.
Read all my reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell