Stanley Kubrick once said that a films “should be a progression of moods and feelings”, and his quote pertains to the type of filmmaking seen in Midnight Special. Jeff Nichols creates a beautiful story of a father (Michael Shannon) protecting his super powered son from government officials, and the film possesses a mystical, mysterious quality that harkens back to classic Spielberg and Kubrick storytelling. The film raises more questions than it answers, but there’s a beautiful nature to the film that makes it feel both intimate and epic.
Following several collaborations with director Jeff Nichols, Michael Shannon gives what is perhaps his best performance to date as a gruff, yet loving father who’s determination is only matched by his compassion. Adam Driver owns a particularly memorable supporting role as a scientist fascinated by these strange events, and Joel Edgerton also proves to be a memorable addition as a normal man drawn into these circumstances. In a breakout role, Jaeden Lieberher gives a remarkable child performance that brings the heart and soul of the movie.
There’s a dreamlike quality to Midnight Special, and stunning visua effects and haunting musical score help Nichols in harnessing this surrealist fantasy. Yet while the film provokes many questions and only explains portions of its own mythology, there’s a sense of wonderment and fulfillment behind the end of the film. What Nichols has done has created a striking and modern Sci-fi classic that feels both adaptive to modern culture, yet effortlessly timeless. Grade: A