Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83% (Critics) / 73% (Audience)
Directed By: Jeff Nichols
Written By: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Synopsis: A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special powers. – (Source)
Despite all of the fantastical elements and snazzy special effects, Jeff Nichols still manages to make this movie feel like a small indie flick which is a good thing. That intimate feel works well for the majority of the film and goes a long way to help deliver a compelling story about a father and son on the run. A lot of what worked in MUD carries over in the film-making style Nichols chooses with this film. Honestly just the tale of a dad trying to escape with his kid from a cult would have been enough to make a really good film…
Which might be where my issues with MIDNIGHT SPECIAL come in. As much as I recognize Nichols’ craftsmanship I never really connected with this film emotionally like I thought I would. I am pretty sure my overall meh feelings to the film have to do with not really buying into the super-powered kid parts and wanting instead to spend a little more time on the backstory of Michael Shannon’s Roy and the cult he was running from as well as getting a bit more info about the friendship between Roy and Lucas that would explain in more detail why Lucas would willingly toss his own lifestyle aside to join Roy on his mission.
Can Hollywood stop trying to make Joel Edgerton happen? I swear the guy is like Sam Worthington Version 2.0 and nobody wanted the old version of Sam Worthington to begin with.
Final Verdict: Jeff Nichols is at his best dealing with quieter character moments and the times we get that in MIDNIGHT SPECIAL the film really shines but I just feel like there wasn’t enough character and a bit too much plot to the point I found myself not enjoying the movie nearly as much as I wanted to. And I really wanted to love it.