A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers.Midnight Special or the buzziest title of this year's Berlin Film Festival. Still settled under a larger than life mysterious Southern sky, still lead by Michael Shannon, Jeff Nichols' cinematography welcomes sci-fi elements. Nichols new film is closer to Take Shelter as it went beyond the mysteries of the human heart and into a more cosmic enigma. Here Jeff Nichols pays transporting homage to the rich tradition, spanning the late 70s through the mid-80s, of intelligent sci-fi, emotionally grounded <more>
in relatable human dynamics. Midnight Special is the first movie of the director to be produced by a major studio Warner Bros. ; though this film is as stylish as all of his former pictures, even if this time around he must have been more aware of criticism and must have had to defend his ideas and choices to impose his point of view again and again. What if there were something new in the world? And what if it was your son? The main theme of this movie is a father and son journey, literally on the road, with a father trying to understand where his son has to be and helping him to go there. I've been immediately interested by the title of this film and after some googling, I found the reference to the folk song covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which featured memorably in the opening scene of the 1983 Steven Spielberg big screen spin off of The Twilight Zone. There's a wave of young filmmakers brought up in the 70s and 80s blockbusters that changed the Hollywood system, who are doing their best to replicate them. J.J. Abrams already managed to work alongside Steven Spielberg himself for throwback fantasy Super 8 before taking charge of the rebooted Star Wars franchise - and others such as Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson or Joss Whedon are clear students of the multiplex masters who birthed the event movie. Characters are not superheroes, but looked upon as normal people. Once again, in constant collaborator Michael Shannon, Nichols finds the perfect engine to power this delicate story forward - was ever any actor so able to project an aura of utter conviction, even when faced with the impossibly wrenching eventuality that the only way to save his child might be to let him go? Alton embodies the never ending possibilities of the universe. No one ever experienced what comes after death well, no one came back to tell us anyway , other dimensions or metaphysical appearances of God. None of these things are tangible, but men want them to exist. Alton is the personification of this need. Moreover, Jeff Nichols did not forget that we as an audience are smart people. We've grown up with movies, we've been taught to pay attention to what was happening on screen; as soon as a new character emerged, we began instinctively to make supposition and hypothesis on his link and relationship with other characters and his environment. He relies on the ability of an intelligent audience to make sense of what is happening. This film is made almost entirely of mysteries and none of which are resolved by the final scenes. The bigger the questions you ask are, the less likely it is you can answer them in any satisfying, definitive way and the human, existential, metaphysical questions that Midnight Special poses, if you care to look for them, are enormous. The visual effects heavy sequences raises more questions than it answers. Was Alton an alien, an angel, a more highly evolved human being? Was he going to heaven, or another dimension? The explanation is ultimately less important than what Alton's journey succeeds in illustrating about human nature - demonstrating just how desperately some people want to believe. In fact, the sci-fi elements of the film have an organic style, they look quite real, inspiration of movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by Steven Spielberg or even Starman by John Carpenter with their opaque dark night. Religious themes aside, though, Nichols draws on both the paranoia of those 1980s films - the feeling that the government is a largely faceless, monolithic force, out to control and suppress all forms of wonder - and on Steven Spielberg's blockbusters filmmaking rhythms. Plus, family is a central theme in all Jeff Nichols' movies as well as couple relationships. Always a contradictory love or even an impossibly love, a love that has to fight in order to survive. A real tragic dimension as well as romantic is present in this vision of love And I like it, I grew up with > More on my blog
A Young Boy With Special Powers (by nceducator-680-921954)
Midnight SpecialThe new film by Jeff Nichols is his best one to date. I caught it at the Silverspot today in Chapel Hill, having viewed it the first time at the Regal in Cary. Both theaters have enormous screens that are so effective in a science fiction thriller. With that said, I'll try not to say one word about the plot or the ending.Midnight Special draws the viewer in even before the first scene appears. We hear an Amber Alert on the radio and that sets the stage for the next 90 minutes of intensity.Roy, played by Michael Shannon in his fourth Nichols film, is on a mission. But is he <more>
an abductor or a rescuer? It's not clear at first, and the intricate plot keeps viewers guessing, just as Nichols would like. Roy looks throughout the film like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. As one of the most expressive actors in films today, he can capture a feeling with just a sideways turn of the head or a furrowed brow. He is magnificent in this film.Joel Egerton who will also star in the next Nichols film due out next year , is perfect as Roy's accomplice, Lucas. The interplay between the two characters never abates during the film and much of their dialog consists of dramatic one-liners: "it's national," "he's dying," "he's more important." Such simple words, laden with meaning and foreboding.A dark night, a lonely road, a gas station, a phone booth. Darkness lays over the movie like another character. It's eerie, haunting, and effective. One of my favorite night scenes shows a hill, over which the lights of a bus appear. Breathtaking and mysterious.With Adam Stone's sensitive cinematography, simple things become powerful: an empty swing set, the soft glow of a lamp, an early morning sky. One of the most beautiful scenes in the film shows a child playing in the living room. It's as though the camera is eavesdropping while the shot is captured through the framework of the child's parents holding hands.Kirstin Dunst plays Roy's wife and is believable sympathetic in the role of a mother. Her anguish at the film's end brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience and her performance has all the depth of a much older actress.Adam Driver is appealing in his role as an FBI agent who easily inserts himself into the action and takes command in several scenes.Sam Shepherd with his steady gaze and razor sharp eyes, is appropriately cast as the leader of a cult who can speak volumes with just a sideways glance. The music by David Wingo is another strong character in the film. Whether foreshadowing or celebrating, the music is stunning, right up to the end song, Midnight Special, which is sung by Ben Nichols, Jeff's brother. I loved the gritty, lonesome quality of it.
a new kinds special universal gps cordinates runs through a boys mystical midnight power source portal (by 2karl-)
midnight special 1hr52mins 10/10 A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child's special powers. directed by Jeff Nichols who done mud his kind of low budget flick has special forces in this movie kind of cross between close encounters meets et as this part crime drama part SC fi thriller part disaster flick of sorts is special kind of something that never fully explains the whole story as its keeps peeling away the layers and you don't know going to happen its devoid of clichés throughly engrossing as Roy Michael Shannon character kidnaps <more>
his son from his Texas home as we see in the motel but as we see he is not stressed wearing glasses to keep out he light for something is strange going here as the Roy Lucas go dark in there car using special reason as the cult and FBI after them to figure out why judgment day for them is coming Alton when the FBI question the cult explain to the FBI he is so powerful that unexplained mysterious powers come from this child and he speaks different languages as they escape across multiple states to there destination were Alton navigation style he knows that they are following him because of drones heat signature from what ever comes they boy but as the boy gets closer to reaching the tension builds up as the boy gets ready to join as his kind collides with his powers to build bridges quiet literally as Kirsten dunst watches on as the his father and Lucas divert the FBI away as they see a new world to up great acting its a strange film but it makes you think about what other strange low budget flicks they can make like this engrossing 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 from close incounter meets etof 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.
wish all indies were this good... (by A_Different_Drummer)
and I can say with some certainty that Jeff Nichols has a heck of a career ahead of him.To be frank, after your first 1000 or so IMDb reviews, you get a bit cynical. You start to understand that, in spite of the hype, movies are not as good as they used to be -- more like production-line white-bread, all mapped out and pre-sold into the appropriate distribution channels before the first viewer ever even gets a look -- and that in the same time period, TV has come to surpass film in terms of quality and entertainment value.And then every now and then you get a film like Midnight Special and <more>
for a brief moment you start to think this medium might someday recapture its glory days.I am not going to tell the story or do anything which will diminish your experience, should you choose to see this film.I will simply say that, if you believe the primary goal of a movie is to hold your interest and entertain, this one does the job from the first frame to the closing credits.Boy is that refreshing! The actors -- not name actors -- were excellent.The special effects were mind-boggling, especially for an indie.The script breaks or bends some rules of conventional narrative but otherwise is so tight you could use it for a drum solo.Highly recommended.
"They belong here - Mozambique!" (by bob-the-movie-man)
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 <more>
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!
Amazing sci-fi that treats its audience with respect (by maripere95)
First and foremost, Jeff Nichols is quickly becoming one of my favourite directors working today, and I honestly believe that his movies have increasingly become better.Midnight Special starts off in the middle of the plot, and does not rely on exposition. This movie treats its audience with respect and allows them to piece together the reasons and events throughout the progression of the film. It gives just enough detail in order to understand but not too little to have no idea what is going on. We are put in the same position as the characters in this movie - where we know just as much as <more>
they do about the origin and extent of the child's powers. Although the ending is a twist that many probably do not understand, it feels deserved and does not feel out of place in the context of the movie; however, the characters probably think it is out of place, but that is because they do not have the outsider perspective that the audience does. In terms of the characters, Michael Shannon's character does feel like a father who would genuinely do this for his son especially because he may feel as though he is making up for lost time and the other characters are very enjoyable and feel necessary to the movie. The atmosphere and feel of the movie is amazing, and even though the plot itself sounds absurd - a father and son are on the run from religious extremists because the son possesses special powers - but it is much more than that and feels believable in its execution.
Midnight Special is definitely Special (by tardieu-felix)
With Midnight Special, Jeff Nichols enters the pantheon of those nostalgic American filmmakers armed with their lens flares, Pandora's boxes and deeply sentimental reasons, driven by a protective father figure and a maternal relationship to the plot itself.Lately, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar walked on the same path, and in many ways Midnight Special strangely looks like Interstellar. There's always the same contrast between gigantic and local stakes/issues that can already be found in Spielberg's filmography : on one side, humanity's fate is at stake, supervised by an <more>
omnipotent government, and on the other side it is and perhaps only a "family affair". David Wingo's soundtrack is electrifying, the script is intelligent enough for not telling us the whole plot and characters' background in a few lines of dialogue, and despite a half-hearted performance by Michael Shannon, who still shines in its restraint, and some facilities in scriptwriting approaching the end of the film, Midnight Special is so perfectly controlled that it would be difficult to get out of the theater unscathed.
Unearthly Drama with an Emotional Punch (by Skruffbagg)
This film really came out of nowhere for me, as a comment by a stranger I overheard in a bar drew me to this, and thank you nameless stranger with impeccable taste! This is one of those sci-fi flicks that comes along every once in a while that actually has something to say without overuse of CGI and genre tropes.I knew almost nothing about Midnight Special going in other than said comment, and I highly recommend you try to do the same. Therefore I will be as brief as possible to avoid spoilers.Roy Michael Shannon is on the run with his 8 year old son Alden Jaeden Lieberher from a <more>
religious cult that worships the boy as some sort of messiah. Also in pursuit are the FBI and NSA, who are investigating several strange phenomena connected with the child. Roy enlists childhood friend Lucas Joel Edgerton to help them get to a specific location on a specific date, the reasons for which are unclear but may involve some sort of otherworldly or cataclysmic event.The comparisons with Starman 1984 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 are apt, but this is very definitely a different movie altogether.The actors are uniformly excellent, especially Michael Shannon, who gives another intense and believable performance as a man who would do anything for his son. A bit has been made out of how the movie ends, but personally I found it a powerful emotional pay-off that I could feel in my chest, possibly due to the nostalgic feeling this film evokes.In conclusion, go see it. A thought provoking sci-fi drama with a story to tell. A good one at that.
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind " meets "Village of the Damned". (by barev-85094)
"Midnight Special", USA, Competition.at Berlin 66: Festival Reviews by Alex Deleon: Photo: Midnight Special press conference at Berlin, with Jaeden Lieberher, child star. "Midnight Special" by Jeff Nichols, 37, his fourth feature, featuring Sam Shepard and Kirsten Dunst, Starring Nichols' regular Michael Shannon, and introducing charismatic child actor Jaeden Lieberher, 11. This is high style sci-fi kitch set in the American south with lots of nightime car chases and spooky set pieces like the bombardment from space of a gas station to demonstrate the extraordinary <more>
powers of the kid in the back seat with the shining eyes. Extraterrestial children with radiating eyes were first employed in the British sci-fi thriller "Village of the Damned", 1960, and this has since become a standard Scifi cliché to notify audiences that children who radiate optically are not Of This World. The reference to Close Encounters comes at the end when we are treated to a view of extragalactic Space City to which child with glowing eyes will return. This set which looks like a giant tangle of Mobius Strips extending to infinity was pooh-poohed by many hard nosed critics who claimed it was too kitchy. I personally liked it because it added the perfect kitch icing to what is essentially a high-kitch layer cake with style to burn. Everybody wants a piece of this kid with glowing eyeballs and amazing kinetic powers which escalate as the film proceeds. A religious cult headed by Sam Shepard, who has the Right Stuff as a self-assured religious cult fanatic --to connect them with God; the CIA, to use him as a Secret Weapon; and the local police on general principles, not to mention his mother, Kirsten Dunst, who just wants her child back after he is kidnapped by his feckless biological father. One tricky question: How did Kirsten Dunst still looking good at 35 give birth Here on Earth to an Alien from a different world? -- but you don't let such trivia bother you when you're enjoying the ride, and this film is one Heckuva ride! PS: "Midnight Special" is the perfect title for a flick that is probably destined to become a cult favorite at the Midnite Movies. Alex, Hotel Alper, Berlin, Monday, Feb. 22.