Image of Michael Shannon in Midnight Special

Midnight Special [2016] is the fourth collaboration between director Jeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon which boasts an impressive cast including Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, and Jaeden Lieberher as a boy who’s “not like us”. Once again I must urge you to go into this film with as little knowledge as possible for maximum enjoyment.

12:00 A.M. Unique. Jeff Nichols constructs a film that strikes nearly all chords along its mysterious path. It’s emotional, thrilling, exciting, shocking, mesmerizing, thoughtful, and ultimately highly entertaining. It’s a film that’s best to go in without any knowledge or preconceived notions of what’s to come. The mystery that unfurls is expertly handled, keeping and sharing just the right amount of information at just the right times to keep a perfect tempo that never misses a beat. The script is the highlight of this production, and everything that falls in line with it is why everything delivers so well.

Middle of the Night Extraordinary. Thanks to the precisely crafted script the story is at all times engaging. The actors are given exactly what they need to delivery terrific performances and the direction is appropriate and never heavy-handed. If helmed by anyone else the tone of this film could have easily been mishandled, even if the wonderful actors gave what they give everything around them would have fallen apart into ridiculousness. Luckily the writer/director knew exactly the kind of story he wanted to tell and how to tell it, and every note rings true throughout the entire runtime.

After 11:59 P.M. Unusual. Technically this film hasn’t much to draw attention to though that’s more a compliment to the writing and story more than anything. The whole thing is shot well enough, the effects do their job, and the editing is straightforward and effective. This isn’t a big-budget science fiction adventure, it’s a personal and insightful drama propelled by intriguing other-something-ness. That something is revealed in its own time, and the resolution of it all will leave some emotionally rapt and others slightly letdown. Ultimately it’s about the journey more than the destination, and it’s a damn fine adventure worth your time and attention.


An ambitious sci-fi adventure wrapped
in a deeply restrained and gripping package.

Watch Midnight Special via Amazon