Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special held great promise for me considering how much I thoroughly enjoyed another of his films, Mud. However, this film has left me a little on the fence and to be honest I can’t quite understand why. On the one hand, the film leaves you feeling as though you have started half way through a story as we enter with two men being chased by the police. This is an interesting technique, but one that ultimately left me feeling a little uncomfortable for the first five minutes of the film as I tried to settle in. On the other hand, the well-crafted storyline and the amazing supernatural powers of the young child left me wanting so much more of the fantasy film.
At the open of the film, the news informs us that two men have ‘kidnapped’ a young boy, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), from a religious cult. The two men, Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are running out of time, but not to get away from the authorities. Alton has supernatural powers, and whilst speaking in tongues he has apparently predicted some sort of judgement day – and that day is fast approaching. This is the reason that the fugitives are hard-pressed for time, they are desperately trying to get Alton to a certain location in time. Indeed, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that these kidnappers are actually trying to help the gifted child. What the fugitives are helping the child towards becomes a fascinating feature of this quest. No one knows what to expect if and when Alton gets where he needs to be, only that he has to get there.
Along the way we discover that Roy is actually Alton’s father and the trio pick up a fourth member in Alton’s mother, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst). Both actors give solid parental performances, leaving the audience in no doubt that the pair are worried about their son. The FBI, who have also picked up on some of Alton’s incredible powers, and members from the cult chase down the group helping Alton reach his destination. This makes for some close calls, near death experiences, meteor showers and spectacular supernatural displays. Moreover, Alton appears to be getting very ill at an alarming rate and there look as if nothing can be done to prevent the inevitable.
Whilst I may be on the fence about whether I truly thought that Midnight Special was good, it is certainly worth a watch. If it is only how the film starts that has left me unsure about the film, then rewatching it already knowing the plot will leave me at ease and improve my viewing experience. Moreover, my brief description of Nichols’ plot should be enough to provide some intrigue! The supernatural aspect of the film is quite unique and will certainly please any sci-fi/fantasy fanatics!