Midnight Special !!!
Wait. What…. What is this? This is not midnight special…*watches some more*… Yet it is.
When I hit play on Midnight Special, I really expected a Midnight Special. A movie you watch with – lights off. No one at home. Everyone away.
I’ll admit, this was a very special movie… just not in the way I expected!
Directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, and Adam Driver, I can clearly state, without any confusion, that this is a very, very special movie, sort of, kinda of, in a way. Actually, you know what – HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW IF YOU WILL THINK IT’S SPECIAL !!!!
Only if you watch it, will you know if Midnight Special is special !!!
Someone’s Been Kidnapped
That’s how the movie starts of. A little boy has been kidnapped and his abductor is not his abductor, the boy’s abductor is his father. So, actually, no, no one has been kidnapped. But, for some reason, the father’s face is splattered across the TV as a hardened criminal as the kidnapper.
Somewhere else, a religious cult is taking steps to retrieve the little boy/saviour who’s name is Alton Tomlin. And finally, the FBI aka the government is pulling all stops to find and rescue the little boy.
And, that’s how Midnight Special begins.
Do you Believe?
If I was to say that there is one single question to sum up this movie, it’s –
Do you Believe?
The belief, the faith of the many characters are in this little boy, named Alton Tomlin, and the belief is… as if Alton is god himself.
Why do people have a belief in him?
Actually – that’s not the reason!
What Alton can do is ET stuff and beyond.
No, actually, it’s more than that. Alton is not an alien trying to go home. But, he is magical with the people he interacts with. Magical in ways… crap, I can’t give a spoiler, but he’s magical in a way not seen before. It’s starts with being able to predict the future and goes to… (spoiler!).
And, yet, he’s just a kid. This belief, which people have in him, pushes them to create a cult around him and pushes people to care for him even though they just met him.
This insane, yet very real belief is there throughout this movie.
Oh, and what’s this belief?
Do you believe that Alton is different, that he’s unique?
I really love the story structure. Midnight Special is completely focused on Alton, but the story is never told by him. It’s told by his father, aka ‘the kidnapper’; by a NSA agent, who is trying to figure out what is Alton; by cult worshipers; and the list goes on.
The story flashes between these characters and their understanding what Alton is. Jeff Nichols, the director, crafts a slow, enveloping story, however, half way through the film, it switches back on track as a linear story.
The way Midnight Special starts…. you think that’s a road trip movie between father and son, and then more characters come on screen, characters from other parts. And in that time Jeff Nicholas weaves an encompassing story that takes you to the mind of people, their hopes, and visions – all the while keeping your eye on the ball – Alton.
Michael Shannon, who is this guy:
Plays the father. Do not doubt for a second that Michael Shannon is a generic actor to be forgotten.
How do you act like a father
- who has a special child
- who is worshipped by others
- who is different
- who may not be of this world
- who everyone wants to get their hands on
You act like Michael Shannon.
The father is a desperate man, a loving father, and a father only wishing that his child meets his wants. Michael Shannon becomes a man who is desperate to help, understand, and protect his son. Yet, how can you do that?
In some one way, Midnight Special is a movie about a father and son and their relationship. But, in other ways, it’s about a father’s desperate attempt to learn how to be a father to a child who is… well – who doesn’t even know truly who or what he is.
And it’s here that Michael Shannon’s slow and deliberate acting truly shines. You won’t find a father like this in any other movie and Michael Shannon embodies this character.
What is it all About?
Okay, but what is the Midnight Special story about?
Alton is trying to get to a particular place.
But, he’s being chased. Being chased by a religious cult founded around him and the government who always wants to turn him into a weapon.
Alton isn’t trying to get home. He is home. He has real birth parents on Earth. No aliens. No magical world.
The visual effects of the movie is spelling blazing. It won’t wow. It won’t get you off your seats. But, it harkens back to Spielberg’s Encounter With the Third Kind and John Carpenter’s Starman. It oozes with style. A reminder that special effects is not about the biggest bomb blast, but how you can enthrall your audience with splicity.
Oh, and I still haven’t mentioned what’s so special about this movie? Well, just make sure keep your eyes wide open.
Did you see it?
Did you see it at the end?
It’s there. What this amazing, visually stunning and well-told mystery is all about. The answer is there.
So – keep your eyes open.
And if you haven’t understood a thing in this review – it’s because you haven’t watched the movie.