6.6/10
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234 user 327 critic

Midnight Special (2016)

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A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child's special powers.

Director:

Jeff Nichols

Writer:

Jeff Nichols
Reviews
Popularity
3,541 ( 1,033)
3 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Shannon ... Roy
Joel Edgerton ... Lucas
Kirsten Dunst ... Sarah
Adam Driver ... Sevier
Jaeden Lieberher ... Alton
Bill Camp ... Doak
Scott Haze ... Levi
Sam Shepard ... Calvin Meyer
Paul Sparks ... Agent Miller
David Jensen ... Elden
Sharon Landry ... Merrianne (Doak's Wife)
Dana Gourrier ... Sharon Davison (Councelor)
Sharon Garrison ... Jane Adams (Sarah's Mother)
Allison King ... Hannah (Ranch Member)
Sean Bridgers ... Frederick (Ranch Member)
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Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's not like us.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and action | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Greece

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 2016 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Jeff Nichols/Sci-Fi Project See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$190,012, 20 March 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,707,794, 22 May 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director Jeff Nichols, Adam Driver's first day on set was the same day he got the news he would be in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, when the aliens are walking towards the structure, for a split second over Sarah's (Kirsten Dunst) right shoulder, you can see an actor with lights over his/her eyes (the lighting apparatus) See more »

Quotes

Lucas: Could we go back to Texas now?
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Soundtracks

Sunrise Mass
Written by Ola Gjeilo
Performed by Majorstua Chamber Choir / Kammerkoret Nova with String Orchestra
Conducted by Tore Erik Mohn
Courtesy of GIA Publications, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
"They belong here - Mozambique!"
11 April 2016 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

Being a film review guy, people often ask me what my favourite film of all time is, and it's a difficult question to answer. I have a 'head' film list and a 'heart' film list, and depending on my mood the lists can shift. However, always near the top of the 'heart' list without fail is Spielberg's 1977 original cut of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - a film that just blew me away at the cinema on first release. Here in "Midnight Special" we have the nearest thing I've seen to a loving tribute to that classic.

Our hero Roy (obviously!) played by Michael Shannon (Zod from the recent "Superman" reboots), and with help from childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton), kidnap a strange light-sensitive child with strange powers from the Texan HQ of a doomsday-focused religious cult led by Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard). The child - Alden - is played really well by 9 year-old Jaeden Lieberher.

Triggering a state and then nationwide manhunt, the trio meet friend and foe on their journey into an uncertain future.

While most strikingly resembling "Close Encounters", the film drops in - either knowingly or unintentionally - parallels to a host of other Sci- Fi films including "Cocoon", "ET", "Tomorrowland" and "Village of the Damned". You might conclude from this comment that this is just a Sci- Fi by numbers quilt: but - while there are probably few truly original Sci-Fi stories left to define - the writer/director Jeff Nichols does succeed in ploughing his own narrative furrow in this well worked field by throwing in a road-movie smattering of "The Sugarland Express" or "Thelma and Louise" into the pot.

What's refreshing in a Sci-fi movie (as was the case in the recent "10 Cloverfield Lane") is that Nichol's screnplay is intelligent enough to treat the audience with an IQ north of 100 by letting the story reveal itself. Some elements of the story (no spoilers) treat you as absurd: and then 30 minutes later there is an "Ah!" moment.

The key Performances by Jackson and Kirsten Dunst are good and very touching in places. Playing the "where have I seen him before" card is Sevier, the lead scientist (why didn't he have jangling keys on his belt though?). If you give up, the answer is that he's played by Adam Driver, Kylo Ren from "Star Wars". For me though Joel Egerton particularly stands out. I've been critical of some of his performances in the past, but here he really nails it with a quiet and unassuming supporting role.

David Wingo's score worked well in places, but - sorry Mr Wingo - I was hankering at some points for swelling John Williams strings!

I could also be mildly critical of the cinematography by Adam Stone. Although very atmospheric, it takes the "Midnight" from the title rather literally in places: something that I can see causing difficulties for TV viewers in working out what the hell is going on in places.

This is a slower paced film than many might like, but for me it perfectly balances character with mystery and action. As such it grabs at least a draft slot in my films of the year.

By the way, following on from my previous review, Midnight Special has a BvS-quotient of 7.2% .... that's the percentage of this movie's budget to the budget of Batman vs Superman!


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