Midnight Special combines the elements of road movies with science fiction to great effect. For director Jeff Nichols the film aims towards a broader audience than his previous films like Take Shelter and Mud, which as good as they were were mainly successful in art house runs.
A young lad (Jaeden Lieberher) has extrasensory powers that can best be described as alien in nature. His parents (Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst) elude a multi-state wide dragnet in an attempt to keep him out of the hands of government agents. Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver and Sam Shepard co-star.
The first half of the movie feels like film noir mainly based on the excitement of speeding cars driving without lights in the middle of the night. The chase is on and you feel the desperation of the people in their cars or holed up in cheap motels with the windows blacked out.
There’s a segment of Midnight Special that seems lifted out of John Carpenter’s Starman. That’s a good thing. Scurrilous government agencies with unclear motives always makes for riveting paranoia. The film tops off the chase with a fantastic array of CGI effects that will please the more driven sci-fi fans.
There’s a sense of ambiguity in Nichols script that fits in perfectly with all that has transpired. That’s another good thing. Do you want everything to be self-explanatory and handed to you on a plate or do you want to think about the whole affair once it’s over?
— Michael Bergeron