Midnight Special (2016)

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (original release date: April 21)

Whenever director/writer Jeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon come together, great things happen. Midnight Special feels like a continuance of their magnificent collaboration Take Shelter, a movie about a man imagining (or not?) the end of the world coming soon. Midnight Special may not be about a man slowly losing his grip on reality, but it further evolves the Nichols/Shannon theme of outsiders who exist on a different plane from everyone else.

Midnight Special can easily be called science fiction, but its feel is more earthly drama than anything else. Although the thrust of the story involves a child who has special powers and the humans who love and protect him, the movie feels less like E.T. and more like your run-of-the-mill family drama. But there’s never anything run-of-the-mill with a Nichols movie, and Midnight Special will confuse and intrigue you and, ultimately, possibly disappoint you, but the true joy of this movie isn’t how it ends, it’s how it feels during the journey. The performances and the artistry of the filmmaking separate Midnight Special, from the always-impeccable Michael Shannon to the best Joel Edgerton performance I’ve ever seen to a resilient and grounding Adam Driver, Nichols pulls the best and most riveting performances out of his actors, while giving the movie an atmosphere and tense emotionality that I’ll have a hard time letting go of.