Midnight Special

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Midnight Special

Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton), along with the pre-teen Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) are sitting in a hotel room. The TV news says Alton’s been kidnapped; the men take him out to an old car and drive away. Roy, we learn, is Alton’s father; the other pieces of the puzzle aren’t going to be along for a while, if at all. Writer-director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter) excels at creating an evocative portrait of rural America and this film – which takes place largely at dusk and night – is no exception.

It’s not just an affectation: Alton has a strange set of super-powers that require him to be kept out of the sun (unless he has to “recharge”), and it’s these powers that have made him the focus of attention of both the creepy cult Roy has snatched him from, and the US government, in the shape of rumpled NSA analyst Sevier (Adam Driver). Roy is taking his son to his mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst), for reasons that, like much of this film, only become clear gradually, if at all. This is a chase film, with shoot-outs and fast escapes, and it’s a gripping one, but Nichols is great at the small moments too – and they’re the ones that linger.

Reviewed by Anthony Morris