MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (12)
D: Jeff Nichols
Warner Bros/Entertainment One/Tri-State/Faliro (Sarah Green & Brian Kavanaugh-Jones)
W: Jeff Nichols
DP: Adam Stone
Ed: Julie Monroe
Mus: David Wingo
Michael Shannon (Roy Tomlin), Joel Edgerton (Lucas), Kirsten Dunst (Sarah Tomlin), Adam Driver (Paul Sevier), Jaeden Lieberher (Alton Meyer), Sam Shepard (Calvin Meyer)
It's apparent that Steven Spielberg movies were an inspiration for writer-director Jeff Nichols' screenplay, particularly Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and though the film had obvious budget restraints, the filmmaker does a very good job.
It's a difficult film to describe the plot to without traipsing into spoiler territory and it's also a film which is best appreciated if you know very little about it, so if you've yet to see it and would like to, I recommend that you read no further.
The story sees Michael Shannon & Joel Edgerton on the road with a young boy who turns out to be Shannon's biological son. In pursuit of the trio are the FBI and members of a religious cult. This is where the story becomes quite convoluted, as it's set up that the boy has been kidnapped by the cult, who were using his supernatural abilities for their own means, but it transpires that the child was, in fact, rescued. The FBI, having gained intelligence on the cult's knowledge of certain government secrets, want to capture the boy so they can discover how he knows such information.
Shannon & Edgerton succeed in delivering the boy to his mother (Kirsten Dunst), before taking the journey to an undisclosed location where a certain event is prophesied to occur.
For an independent film, the amount of craft put into it is admirable, and Jeff Nichols appears to be a top filmmaker stepping onto the big stage. However, the pacing of the narrative won't be for everyone and if you weren't a fan of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, it's unlikely that you'll enjoy this too much.
The acting, particularly by Michael Shannon, is excellent and the cinematography is very well done. A special mention also has to go to David Wingo for his atmospheric music score, which must be a shoe-in for an Academy Award nomination.