Sunday, 10 April 2016
#28 MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
Starring Micheal Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirst Dunsten, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher and Sam Shepard. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols. $18 million budget. 111 minutes long.
In the middle of the night, just before an FBI task force storm a religious cult, Roy (Micheal Shannon) and his childhood best friend, Lucas - a State Trooper (Joel Edgerton) go on the run with Roy's strange son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) for reasons that will slowly reveal themselves to us.
Alton is a pale, weak boy prone to talking in tongues, spouting covert government radio chatter and bringing down space-based orbiting space stations with the power of his mind alone. He's also able to fire beams of pure energy from his eyes and giving visions to those brave enough to stare into his eyes. As the two men and the boy drive across America, having picked up the boy's mother, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst). Meanwhile, government scientist, Paul Seiver (Adam Driver) is on the trail of the boy, although how and why is never explained. Indeed, there's lots that is never explained. Alton's messages are accepted by the cult as prophecies that herald the coming Armageddon and believe they will survive it if Alton is with them, so they dispatch a snatch squad to bring him back in time.
Like a cross between ET, Starman and Return to Witch Mountain, this is a strongly acted, well directed chase thriller that sort of never quite clicks and it's a tad frustrating. You're left wanting to know more or perhaps some closure, but too much of this film is spent with characters who know far more than we do and that's always frustrating, particularly Alton who seems to possess all the answers but refuses to tell anyone else.
Still, the film, playing as a road movie builds the tension and excitement nicely, it's helped by a solid cast and good direction, but it's the lack of closure or answers that ultimately makes this a little disappointing.