There are films that come along that seem to have surfaced out of nowhere with very little information and when handled right it can make the film all the better. The latest Midnight Special has had an interesting poster pop up that tells you that there is something unique about this film and features a great cast including Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, and Sam Shepard, but can it live up to what some might build up in their mind or should it have stayed in the compound?
Midnight Special follows a father and son go on the run from the government and a group of religious extremists after the dad learns his child possesses special powers. If you have never heard of this film it might be the best thing for you as you can see this without any expectations and it makes the experience all the better. Make no mistake the trailer will not hurt this film in anyway as it is an awesome array of family dynamic, mystery and science fiction, but the less you know the better. Mud director Jeff Nichols has crafted a near perfect film that takes you on an emotional journey with these characters that is not just about them being on the run, but also about acceptance, devotion and belief in something bigger than themselves. The cast is amazing with the always great Michael Shannon offering up a powerful yet subtle role that hits every necessary mark. He showcases such passion and dedication in his love for his son and understanding of what has to be done that you can feel it off the screen. Adam Driver offers up another subtle character which is a great to see from this talented actor who is usually delivering quick witted quips or struggling with his dark side. The rest of the cast are all great as well with young actor Jaeden Lieberher who has this entire film resting on his shoulders. While he doesn’t offer up a lot of dialogue, he is the entire focus and if he was not believable then it would have fallen apart fast.
While you have the usual government and other entities hunting them which leads to some shoot outs and car chases, it is really the emotional struggle between them all that makes this film work. Shannon and Lieberher have great chemistry that is just made stronger when Dunst arrives. She brings a grounded nature to the story that is needed to oppose the obsessed path that Shannon is forced to take. Along for the ride the mysterious dedication of Edgerton’s characters is made stronger when he showcases his belief in what they are doing. While these emotional aspects and perfect chemistry is what drives this film if the effects needed to bring some of it to life didn’t work then it would have been all for nothing. Thankfully it offers up everything to perfection. Some of the moments aren’t overly complicated, but the unique direction they go with what he is capable of makes it stand out right up to the excellent finale.
Most films are highly affected by the music and this one is no different. There is an almost horror-esque haunting quality to the soundtrack that makes the film feel like so much more. The slow build to the story coupled with this beautifully dark music keeps you fully invested in the nature of the story Nichols is trying to tell to perfection. This film may not work for everyone, but if you can see it as more than just a film in front of you and really let the experience drive your emotional response then you are in for a real treat whether you are a sci-fi fan or not.