I had been meaning to watch this movie for years now. I kept hearing about how great it was, but I never really looked into what it was about. I pretty much ended up watching this movie without knowing anything, as I don’t remember ever even seeing a trailer. If you are thinking about giving this film a try, I recommend not reading the rest of my review and just turning it on. I’m not going to go into any big spoilers or anything, but I think that this film is best enjoyed with little-to-no expectations.
Midnight Special is a film about a father (Michael Shannon) and an old friend (Joel Edgerton) trying to get his son (Jaeden Martell) to an unknown location before anyone else can get to him. The cast for this film is really great. I’ve never really been the biggest Michael Shannon fan, but between Knives Out and now Midnight Special I may be converted. He plays such a great character of the dad that we are pretty sure is doing the right thing, but also makes you feel a little sketched out. Speaking of Knives Out, it’s kind of cool that Shannon and Martell play father/son in this film and uncle/nephew in Knives Out. Martell is good in this movie, although he doesn’t have a ton of lines. The movie is about this young kid who may have some higher purpose, but it really focuses more on the story of a dad just trying to do everything he can to make sure that his son does what he is meant to do in life. Or at least that’s what we are lead to believe most of the time. Joel Edgerton is good in the film as well, but his character seemed kind of flat to me. He is a guy who is told one thing about this kid from an old friend, and then goes against everything he believes him to save him. It just seemed implausible that this dude living an average life would pick up and leave everything behind for some kid he doesn’t even know.
As for story, I’d say that Midnight Special reminded me a lot of a mix between Knowing and Chronicle. The way that the story comes together and the relationship between a dad and his son was kind of how I wish Knowing was. Then the supernatural vibe was reminiscent of Chronicle. I think that the pace of this film is leagues better than either of those films though. It starts with a bang, and the pace never really lets up. Even more serious sections, like the scenes with Adam Driver as a brainiac/special agent, never let up. The movie is really just go go go and keeps you on your seat. I will say that I found the ending a little disappointing. It seems a little rushed and sort of unsatisfying in my opinion. Another reason it reminds me of Knowing.
Midnight Special is a very well made film that made great use of its smaller $18 million budget. It’s not easy to make a science fiction movie with such a great cast on a budget like that, but I believe Jeff Nichols did a pretty dang good job. While I think that this film lacks a little bit of heart, and definitely is not an epic film, it is a great watch. If this movie gets brought back onto a streaming service, I would absolutely recommend.