Midnight Special (2016)
Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) is a very special young boy. So special, in fact, that his birth father, Roy (Michael Shannon) and childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) kidnap him from the “cult” he was adopted into. You see, Alton claims he is not from this world, and he says that an event is coming, but it turns out that the data Alton has shared with the church is actually secret government plans. Now that Alton is in the hands of Roy and Lucas, can the FBI get to them before the foreseen “event” occurs?
Directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter), Midnight Special feels similar to his other works in the fact that they are both original and thought provoking. With more similarities to Take Shelter, Midnight Special is a mystery surrounding the uncertainty that Alton is what he claims he is – an alien. As the story goes, things get weirder and weirder and for me it was hard to follow and understand what was going on. Maybe it was because the situations in this movie aren’t common, but the whole time I was thinking “what is so special about this kid?” When you finally find out the truth, it doesn’t feel like something big happened. There is no twist. There is no revelation. There is only a “what the hell is happening” moment.
Midnight Special isn’t a bad movie, but I don’t know what emotions it is trying to stir inside me. With a similar feel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the ending is where this movie suffers. There isn’t anything special in my opinion. Everything that happens just happens and that is all. Alton isn’t a super hero and he sure isn’t like E.T. with whom we have a heartfelt bond with. Alton simply is who he is. By the time you figure out the end (and you might not even figure it out because I didn’t), you won’t care. I can see how this movie will intrigue fans of futuristic sci-fi because it is different and unique, but it isn’t anything special in terms of an overall story to make you happy you watched it.
At the end of the day, just like “Take Shelter” was strange and “Mud” was missing something big, Midnight Special feels empty and missing something huge. It is what it is and that is both simple and complex all at the same time. The simplicity is going to bore you but the complex will keep you from caring. Overall, this movie let me down. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, David Jensen, and Paul Altman.
6/10 Stars – I can see the possibility of something special here, but it ultimately gives us characters that we don’t care about and an ending most of us won’t understand.