20160414

A film review: 'Midnight Special' is a layman's 'Interstellar.' Yay!

Origin: United States · Language: English
Director & writer: Jeff Nichols
Genres: Science fiction, fantasy, drama · Release: March 18, 2016

Casts:
Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Jaeden Liebeher,
Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard

More info: IMDb

Hello there. The only reason I watched this movie was because the awesome film group on Facebook called Movie Addict held a giveaway for a FREE screening, and I was one of the chosen ones. Then, I saw Michael Shannon and Adam Driver's name as per the poster above. Kylo Ren vs General Zod! Nope, there's not really... like, ANY feuds between their characters in here. And then there's a blatant Superman product placement in the form of a comic book (which doubled as a minor plot device and as a reminder that Warner Bros. is distributing this film). Let's see if I think it's any good. 

In Midnight Special, Roy (Michael Shannon) and his accomplice Lucas (Joel Edgerton) must accompany the former's son Alton (Jaeden Liebeher) who has some sort of special powers to somewhere at some time where a mysterious event might happen while protecting him from various pursuant who wants him to do something for them. So much vagueness.

Surprisingly, it is a decent family picture. However, the approach was minimalist in aspects such as the expositions of certain story information, its pacing, its acting, and even its musical scores, much like the premise itself as I have described above. But because of those minimalist touches, the film feels intimate due to the bond that was felt between Roy and Alton and majestic at the same time due to the science fiction elements. And the awesome-looking CGI will just blow your mind when you least expect it. For a film that looks and feels 'indie,' you could never prepare yourself for what will hit you!

Despite being billed as a science fiction film, the only scientific thing about it were explanations that came out of Paul Sevier's (Kylo Ren... I mean, Adam Driver) mouth. Nichols purposely left out all the unanswered mysteries behind Alton's origins in the cloud... for some some reason. Also, there was that short, yet cheeky reference to Star Wars (because Kylo Ren is in it, duh?).

As I said earlier, there was nothing draggy when it comes to the execution of the plot and acting. Slow-moving, but not draggy. Everything was on point and excelled at what they needed to be, maybe except for the under-utilised Sarah (Kirsten Dunst), Roy's wife and Alton's mother. Michael Shannon nailed his role as a dad who felt that his estranged son was meant for something bigger. Adam Driver was pretty adequate as an adorkable and laid-back scientist who's caught up in the middle of some sort of conspiracy. Joel Edgerton serviced himself well as Roy's longtime friend who was progressively accepting whatever it was that needs to be done. Last but not least, there's the main star of the show, Jaeden Liebeher's Alton, who perfectly captured the vulnerability of a human child and a mysteriously complex figure that gave this film the perfect emotional vehicle.

I'd say, it's definitely ain't a stretch to call this film, as per the title of this entry, a layman's Interstellar; Interstellar was trying so seriously to convince us how sci-fi the film is, while Midnight Special just decided to let us and the characters in the film accept the weird shit that happened as it was, because... well, some things are just best left unexplained. If Interstellar was kind of your bag, you'll love this one. Definitely recommending this one to those who slept throughout Interstellar, as Midnight Special will definitely keep you awake as it will unwillingly trigger spontaneous interpretations from audiences on what the heck just occurred onscreen as they are watching it. I'm still trying to make sense of what I saw yesterday night as well as we speak, to be honest!

P/S: It was a BIG turn up of an event! This screening by Movie Addict is definitely a huge deal, considering other outlets that also organised a Midnight Special screening at the same night are from big time media... and we are just a humble Facebook group. If you wanna share your love for movies, come down and join in the club! Go to Movie Addict and join in as a member. Who knows? Maybe this kind of massive get together might happen again!

*I've been discretely lobbying for the group for sometime now. It's only now that I decided to make it obvious. Hehe.

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