HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Leatherface
Grimsby
Caniba
Bedroom, The
Dark Tower, The
Better Watch Out
Beguiled, The
Year of the Comet
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  Midnight Special The Child With The Man In His EyesBuy this film here.
Year: 2016
Director: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard, Bill Camp, Scott Haze, Paul Sparks, David Jensen, Dana Gourrier, Sean Bridgers, Kerry Cahill, Lucy Faust, Sharon Garrison, James DuMont, Yvonne Landry
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are in a motel room on the highway to Atlanta with Roy's eight-year-old son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) who is sporting a pair of blue goggles and orange headphones for medical reasons. Those reasons are why they both have kidnapped the child, with Roy believing he has to be brought to a specific place some way away from civilisation, and certainly away from both the authorities and the cult that Alton was born into, a sect which both Roy and his wife Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) once belonged to. They are keen to have the boy back, their leader (Sam Shepard) considering big plans for him, but the FBI are onto them too, and have the lot of them taken in for questioning. What is so special about Alton, anyway?

The twenty-first century filmmaker's drive to recreate the movies of their youth continued with what looked like an indie facsimile of a sci-fi blockbuster, but actually had some big studio muscle behind it from Warners that got it made and into cinemas across the world where there were high hopes for the production. Alas, it was not to be, and Midnight Special failed to take off with audiences, leaving the cult following that probably suited it better, not that many involved would have been averse to raking in mighty profits and mass adulation, as it certainly appeared to be director Jeff Nichols' attempt at more mainstream acceptance. You can take the boy out of indie, but you can't take the indie out of the boy.

Hence the smaller returns on the studio's investment as befitting the work of the man behind low key minor successes like Take Shelter and Mud. Say this for Nichols, he did give the equally cult figure Michael Shannon interesting roles to play, and here the actor's intimidating qualities were well served in a tale that had us unsure of how to take him: was he behaving in the best interests of his son or had those years in the sect warped his perceptions, and he had drawn in cop Lucas on this possibly foolhardy adventure? The answer to that was forthcoming far too swiftly in a film that was happy to play the mystery card for some elements, even to a point after the story was over, but too keen to make other aspects crystal clear when keeping us in the dark would have ramped up the intrigue.

Another issue was that once it was over, it seemed less a satisfying five course sci-fi banquet and more a quick brunch before something more substantial came along. While it was unfolding it was engaging enough, the mystery was strong and kept you interested, but by the end you realised that it had amounted to a tribute to a bunch of seventies and eighties movies that indicated where this was going in much the same way, therefore it was not as surprising as it thought it was. If, for example, you had experienced Steven Spielberg's huge Close Encounters of the Third Kind or E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Stephen King's second division novel Firestarter or John Carpenter's misty-eyed Starman (David Wingo's score was very Carpenter-esque, as was the rule with these throwbacks) then you pretty much had a strong grasp on what we had in store from the off.

That said, while a lot of those eighties alien movies liked to spin their yarn from the child's perspective, Midnight Special was different in that it took the adults' point of view, indicating where Nichols had taken his inspiration from. Yes, those vintage flicks, but also his experience of being a father and wishing to look after his child the best he could while being aware of how difficult it was to shield them from a world that wanted to take a big piece of their experience and use it to its own ends; just as Roy cannot fully control Alton's fate, neither can a parent ensure that their offspring will find safety once they start to grow and become independent in thought and deed. With that in mind, this began to seem a lot more valid than it would be if you approached it as a basic science fiction magic child plot, and if it was trying to mask its essential simplicity in enigma, then the trappings Nichols arranged were nicely handled with some unfussy but well-detailed effects and sympathetic performances, once you had worked out what everyone was trying to achieve. No classic, but with some worth the further you contemplated it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 560 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: