MOVIE REVIEW: Midnight Special

A Father abducts his son from a cult and with the help of a State Trooper friend goes on a cross-country drive.  Trying to escape the cult, the authorities, and deliver this special child to a particular spot at a specific time.  The child has to be kept out of the sunlight and stays awake during the night.  His power shows people something special and generates a heat signature, also he’s able to intercept secure Government transmissions.  As the cult tries desperately have this child returned to them, believing that he a gift from God, the Government is also after the child as they don’t understand exactly what he is.

I couldn’t fault this film.  I sat there for the whole thing and just loved every second of the film, even the parts with Kirsten Dunst in them, I can forgive them for her being in the film.  I get found memories of Flight of the Navigator and other movies which I watched during long Irish Summers so rainy that you couldn’t step outside.

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Michael Shannon stars as the Dad and once again he nails his performance, a devoted and loving Dad, who believes that his Son is meant for something more special than inspiring some cult.  Following up from 99 Homes last year Shannon can do no wrong in my eyes lately.  Joining him as his State Trooper friend is Joel Edgerton who plays this dedicated friend from childhood of Shannon and willing to help him with anything.  Adam Driver, Kylo Ren himself, plays something different to his normal cocksure annoying character, giving his NSA character a lot of heart and comedy.  The real star of the film and giving us a subtle yet strong performance is the child in question Jaeden Lieberher.  This young man plays the talented boy in all the forms and transformations in a way that will give faith in his future.

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The special effects during the film are probably not what you are expecting from a big screen adventure these days.  Although for me they fit perfectly into the story that we are being told, if they were too clean and clear-cut it would have felt more unrealistic than what we get.  I know that these post effects are unreal because they are not real, but we must believe in them while watching the film for the pure brilliance of the escapism to work.

When you’ve seen some documentaries about these cults, the end of the world ones, you realize that the film makers here have done their research into the little things.  The little things, small details, and background images and words just make a film seem more alive.  The journey across the country and the pursuit are engaging enough that you feel you are in the car with the travelers.  I’ll admit that I laughed to myself during one part where the child is reading a comic and asks a question that Michael Shannon answers.

You may feel that the end of the film is a little predictable and in some parts a small bit sweet, thankfully though by this stage the film makers make you want this ending.  They do something brilliant and profound, they make you feel as though you want to walk out of the cinema and see this ending become real.

Don’t let this film fly under your radar, get out to your local cinema, sit there and watch a film that gives a chase with a science fiction edge, a story about a boy and his parents.  A story about parents who are about to do the most difficult thing that any parent will have to do, to let their child go, for the best interest of the child.  I’m going back to see this film time and time again, because feeling like this is why I love movies.

Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Adam Driver, Sean Bridgers, Kirsten Dunst

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