Midnight Special is an American science fiction drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols, starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Jaeden Lieberher. Midnight Special opens in theatres islandwide today.
Midnight Special follows the story of Roy (Michael Shannon) and his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) as they escape from federal and local police officers with the aid of Roy’s childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton). Alton is a seemingly normal eight year old boy who possesses otherworldly powers that allow him to receive radio broadcasts and “commune” directly with other individuals among other things. He was adopted by the head of a religious cult in rural Texas who believed that Alton and his “messages” were the key to their salvation. Subsequently, Alton escaped with Roy and Lucas, and together the three travel across the United States towards a set of mysterious coordinates which Alton has provided. Along the way, Alton’s biological mother, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) joins the trio and together they try to outrun and outwit their pursuers.
The whole story itself is a continuous mystery with each new discovery adding more questions than answers, and the increasing excitement as the film gains momentum towards its finish is palpable. The story is brought to life with the convincing performances given by Michael Shannon and Jaeden Lieberher as they very convincingly portray the tension between their two characters. Shannon who had previously worked alongside Nichols in ‘Take Shelter’ returns to deliver a stunning performance as Roy, playing the part of the desperate father perfectly. His frustration with the situation and his resolve to go to any lengths for his son is readily apparent to the audience, and makes the story all the more believable. The atmosphere created by tension between the characters, the mystery surrounding Alton’s powers and the unfolding plot gives a strong sense of anticipation and emotional connection with the film.
The film itself very aptly portrays the self-sacrificial nature of the love between a parent and child. You can sense Roy’s unwillingness to part with his son, yet you can see his determination to do what is best for Alton even if the decision does not sit well with him. The lengths to which Roy is willing to go for Alton’s sake despite his conflicted feelings regarding Alton’s future speaks powerfully of the great love that Roy has for his son. Overall, Midnight Special is an intriguing addition to the science fiction genre, providing an unconventional story and powerful emotional draw, and it is definitely a film worth catching.