Dir: Jeff Nichols, (2015)
The wonderful Jeff Nichols expounds on his work with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud to create a beautifully blended science fiction film which takes much from his beloved 70’s auteurs; Many have already cited the lens flare nostalgia of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and not at all unfairly. Midnight Special is a brisk road movie love letter to Mr. S; A compelling and sweet a tale penned by young director driven by new fatherhood.
As Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton frantically transport a young boy (Jaeden Lieberher) through the night it’s unsure exactly when this classical good versus evil film is set. Nichols places rotary phones, a timeless wardrobe, old cars and bad wallpaper front of frame as we slowly begin to understand why this special little guy and his protective eye wear are being pursued across country by the FBI and members of an ominous cult. Adam Driver shows his brilliant vulnerable side as an agent tasked with locating the child, solidifying his charismatic aura as one of the sure staples of American indie (and now blockbuster) cinema. Shannon and Edgerton fight it out for the strong silent type trophy with Kirsten Dunst mostly playing second fiddle to the brooding manliness of it all until the final beautiful conclusion.
Midnight Special isn’t without its pacing flaws but you’ll get a real kick out the nostalgic pangs for a time when you sat cross-legged in front of the television with a bowl of popcorn in your pyjamas watching E.T for the 50th time.