HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Midnight Special The Child With The Man In His Eyes
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 FictionBuy from Amazon
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 2849 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: