Wed, 27 April 2016
Another text-based review from Sam!
There's something I find really cool and genuine about minimalist, relatively low budget sci fi films (Looper, Ex Machina, 10 Cloverfield Lane). They kind of capture that DYI aesthetic and science fiction rooted in emotion readily present in Bradbury books and sci fi flicks from the 70s and 80s (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Starman, ET: The Extraterrestrial) that just aren't around all that much anymore and I connect with so much more than the bigger budget fare (Oblivion, Tomorrowland). Midnight Special definitely falls in the former group.
Midnight Special has wayward old friends Roy and Lucas (Played by Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton, respectively) teaming up to covertly escort Roy's son, Alton, to an unspecified location in the American South. Roy's young son is capable of some particularly unique feats and he has a mysterious date with destiny that Roy knows his sickly son needs to make.
The furtive nature of their journey is one of necessity: Alton is being hunted by the federal government (Led by Adam Driver as bookish NSA agent, Paul) who view Alton as a weapon, a Waco-themed cult who view him as their savior, and local authorities who think Roy just up and kidnapped his kid from his adoptive couple. Roy and Lucas quietly brandish guns as every pair of headlights could be a different hunter. And those Texan roads sure seem to stretch on forever after dark.
At its core, Midnight Special is at once a story about ordinary people forced to deal with scenarios beyond their natural comprehension and a metaphor for parenthood; Roy has to protect his son from the outside world and then ultimately let him go for whatever fate has in store for him out of his control.
The entire cast brings their A-game and the film is expertly shot; the constraints on the film due to budget are never really felt, not even in the special effects shots. Midnight Special is a performance-driven chase film with sci fi influences running deep. Beautifully paced, shot, and performed, the film doesn't answer all the questions it asks but (I suppose like parenthood) that was never really the goal. A great low budget indie sci fi film (That was a lot of adjectives) and worth checking out if like that sort of sub-genre.
Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 11:25am EST
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