Reel Review | Midnight Special

by Tim Gordon

The suspenseful story about a gifted, young boy that may hold the key to the future is the subject of the sci-fi drama, Midnight Special.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, the film revolves around Roy (Michael Shannon) and his biological son, Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher), who are being pursued by a group of shadowy government officials and a group of religious extremists due to his special powers. Starring frequent collaborator Shannon, along with Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver, the film is Nichols’ fourth full-length film in his chronology and his first studio production.

One of the industry’s most underrated and publicly unknown directors, nevertheless, Nichols is very talented with his three previous films; Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud have explored repressed emotions, the past colliding with the present, and fatherhood.

As the object of everyone’s attention, young Lieberher once again sparkles in a low-key, yet effective performance that feels light years away from his work opposite Bill Murray in St. Vincent. While Edgerton and Dunst are solid, Shannon once again shows why he is quietly developing into one of the industry’s signature character actors and the actor that Nichols trusts the most. The sci-fi surprise of the year, Midnight Special is this year’s Ex Machina, which is high praise, indeed!

Grade: B