Opening 18 Feb 2016
Director Jeff Nichols is known for the slow burn. Having directed films such as Mud and Take Shelter, Midnight Special is reminiscent of that feel, as well as having some of the same actors.
It begins with what looks like a kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy named Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) by two men, Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton). The story line is slow paced and nothing is fed to the audience outright. Alton is revealed to actually being rescued by his birth father Roy from a cult they had been staying in called the Ranch. Alton was adopted by the intense leader Calvin Meyer (Sam Shephard) and used for the special powers he possesses. Now that they are on the run, everyone from the FBI, particularly Paul Sevier (Adam Driver), to Calvin’s cronies, are after them. The film is essentially on the road, heading towards a big event that Alton forecasts will take place and he will be the center of. His birth mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) had long left the Ranch and reunites with him on his journey.
It’s one of those films that mirrors back to the viewer. What your state of being is in the moment, and more specifically the time of your life, will determine your relation to this film. I left feeling unfulfilled, waiting for an answer rather than the open-endedness. I surprised myself because I usually like the undefined, but my initial reaction was one of an underdeveloped narrative. Still I somehow liked it, and more so wanted to like it. It is ultimately about belief, the love of a child, and the journey beyond the miniscule. I suppose this film told me something about myself in my current state, and isn’t that what we all want good art to do? To reveal something to us about ourselves? At the very least, Midnight Special will do just that. (Lubi Barre)