#REVIEW: “MIDNIGHT SPECIAL”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Midnight Special has been compared to Close Encounters for good reason. Like Spielberg’s masterpiece, Jeff Nichols’ latest Film is bound to make an indelible impression. Written and directed by Nichols, it stars his favorite leading man, Michael Shannon. Shannon plays Roy Tomlin, a father on the run with his only child, Alton. Alton, played by Jaeden Lieberher, wields a power beyond his understanding… beyond anyone’s understanding.
The Film starts out with Roy, Alton and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) in a blacked-out hotel room. The duct taped peep hole is uncovered to reveal that its dusk. There is something about the night that calms Alton, and there are people of the night who worship him. Sam Shepard plays cult leader Calvin Meyer, a religious zealot who has taken Alton’s words as scripture. Sam wants Alton for himself, and so does the American government. Adam Driver plays Paul Sevier, an NSA operative who’s taken an interest in Alton’s abilities.
To discuss the story any further may spoil it, so let us move on to the more artistic details. David Wingo is the Film’s composer, the same composer that Nichols has used for all of his Films. Some may remember his haunting and beautiful work on Take Shelter. An equally stirring score accompanies Midnight Special. Its central theme is particularly captivating. Especially as it is reprised throughout Alton’s journey into the unknown. His journey is visually sculpted by Concept Art Director Vlad Bina. With credits on Tomorrowland, Man of Steel and Matrix Reloaded it is evident why Nichols employed him to craft his Sci-Fi aesthetic. Whereas Adam Stone, Nichols’ friend and cinematographer, returns to give the Film a familiar feel.
The unfamiliar is where this Film takes us. As a result many will find themselves lost by the time the credits roll. However, it’s unlikely that this will cause an uproar. Nichols has admitted that he feels plot is overrated, so finding the why for what happens will be hard. That said, it isn’t impossible. It can be found in the emotions the Film stirs up. Those feelings that are brought to the surface when we first see Alton use his powers, or when we are shown how much his father loves him. It is comforting to be reminded that life is more than logic, because it often offers us very little. Thus, if you’re looking for something inspiring, look no further. Midnight Special is bound to make an impression, one that won’t be forgotten.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release MIDNIGHT SPECIAL Friday, April 1, 2016 in Toronto, with additional cities to come Friday, April 15, 2016.