If you like slow-paced films that build to something very interesting, then do yourself a favour and check out "Midnight Special." This film is a treat for film fans if I've ever seen one. Jeff Nichols writes and directs this film that stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, and of course, the incredibly talented Jaeden Lieberher. Lieberher as the main focus, delivers an astonishing performance as this kid who everyone is after. As the film starts, the audience never really knows what exactly this kid can do, even though you see glimpses of his special abilities. Most of the characters know exactly what he can do and why he can do it, but the mystery of the film is what the big picture is, surrounding him.
As the film begins, we follow two men who have this child, but whether or not it is against his will is yet to be seen. One of the men is his biological father who only wants the best for him and is trying to get him somewhere he needs to be by a certain day. His family also joins in as the film continues and other characters begin to gain an interest in the boy, doing whatever they can to help. With surprises around every turn, this film will have you on the edge of your seat, surprised, or deep into the conversations had between characters. When the big reveal occurs as to what he can do, the reactions from every character is really what adds to the impact. There are so many great elements throughout this film, but one thing that stood out in particular, which is always one of the best aspects when a film accomplishes is this, is the score.
Peaceful, calming, and sometimes eerie, the score in "Midnight Special," done magnificently well by Adam Stone, is some of the best music in a film I have heard in years. To myself, this is the biggest standout of the film. The payoff in the final act was very well handled but felt a little too familiar to other famous films, which I will leave nameless for spoiler purposes. If you have seen the film or do not mind hearing about a film's ending, I will post my thoughts below:
Very much like the conclusion of the film "E.T. The Extraterrestrial," we finally see the other world he is from that he had been previously talking about. Our main characters are shown, amazed by what they see and then he vanishes back to his world. I think this is the weakest aspect (although well-done), due to the fact that this premise seems done to death by now. Aside from that, I don't have any aching problems with this picture.
Well written, very well directed, terrifically performed, and benefitting from an incredible score, "Midnight Special" may be one of the better films you see in 2016. No it is not perfect, due to it's few missteps in the finale (which is just my opinion), but I truly think this is a film the director should be very proud of, and for an 18 million dollar budget, this film does wonders. If you are a superhero fan, a sci-fi fan, or a film fan in general, there is a little something for all of you. I highly recommend checking out this film. "Midnight Special" is terrific filmmaking.
Review By: KJ Proulx