Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare.
Alton Meyer is a boy unlike any other in the world with bizarrely powerful abilities and strange weaknesses. In the middle of the night, his father, Roy, spirits him away from the isolated cult that practically worships him and is determined to regain him at all costs. At the same time, Alton's abilities have been noticed by the US government as well and they are equally insistent on getting to the bottom of this mystery with Paul Sevier of the National Security Agency leading the Federal pursuit with his own questions. These rival hunts force father and son into a desperate run towards a looming date with destiny that could change everything. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
"Midnight Special" focuses on a father (Michael Shannon) who goes on the run with his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) who seems to be a conduit channeling earthly and celestial information, as well as being the chosen prophet of a religious cult in rural Texas, from which his wife (Kirsten Dunst) formerly fled. The bulk of the film entails the family's mission to bring Alton to a specific geographical location (for purposes that remain relatively undisclosed until the end) while the FBI, CIA, and US military relentlessly pursue them.
To put it straight, I am not typically a sci-fi fan, but Jeff Nichols's "Midnight Special" almost defies the category itself in many ways. The film starts out with a starkly ambiguous premise, and revels in its own ambiguity for the majority of its duration; Nichols keeps a steady hand on the trigger from the opening scene to the visually astounding conclusion, and the audience is kept in a state of contemplation and wonder that never really closes in on itself.
In many ways, it's a road film, and in others it is full-blown science fiction-meets-the horror aspects of "Village of the Damned" with shades of David Lynch. The rural backwoods of the south and its rundown gas stations and forlorn meadows and wetlands stand as the backdrop against which the action is setmostly at nightand Nichols has a keen eye for visuals; it's an aesthetically beautiful movie, artfully shot and eye-catching. Michael Shannon plays a role that is tailored for him in all of his contemplative and quiet idiosyncrasies, while Joel Edgerton is incredibly believable as his Texas state trooper friend helping the mission. Kirsten Dunst turns in a fine performance as his estranged wife, and is emotive and revels in what is a relatively unglamorous but substantive role. Jaeden Lieberher is also fantastic and fittingly precocious at the film's center.
I've read some reviews in which audiences have taken issue with the film's conclusion, but I felt it was a thought-provoking and poignant ending to a remarkably enigmatic story. The special effects do become increasingly ambitious as the film's heavier sci-fi elements rear their head, but the effects are well-done, and the visuals that the film ends itself on are truly breathtaking.
Overall, "Midnight Special" is a visionary film from a visionary filmmaker through and through. It draws inspiration from a confluence of sources, melding Spielberg-like science fiction with the uncanny nightmarishness of a David Lynch picture. It's visually phenomenal, but, aesthetics aside, is simply an engaging and thought-provoking story that is as otherworldly as it is human. 9/10.
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