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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Autumn 2016

Midnight Special (2016) movie review

Them and Us

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movie poster, Midnight Special, Festivale film review; 400x562

Movie poster, Midnight Special
He's not like us.

An amber alert is out to find Alton (Jaeden Leiberher) the adopted son of a preacher (Sam Shepard). However the preacher and his followers on The Ranch have a strange practice, and the man who has Alton is his father (Michael Shannon).

As the film progresses, we learn more about Alton, his parents, and the reason why they are on the federal government's radar.

This is science fiction of the non-glossy, no-robots and spaceships type. A mysterious power is revealed, and the main protagonists are on a quest to discover what it is about, and to follow the clues that come from it.

movie still, Midnight Special, Festivale film review page; 599x505

Jaeden Leiberher as Alton in Midnight Special (c) Warner Bros

Writer/director Jeff Nichols paces the film and the reveals reasonably well, and the actors hit their spots, but what the film lacks is the reflection on our own world.

Good science fiction, whenever and wherever it is set, tells us about ourselves, our times, our worlds. Midnight Special is a story that despite the heart, has no soul. Despite the fact that this is a chase film, the pressure doesn't build.

It walks to the conclusion instead of running. It is interesting, well-acted, and young Jaeden carries the film well, but this is a story without an underlying message, and we are left a little disappointed.

movie still, Midnight special, Festivale film review page; 400x562

L to R. Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Leiberher, and Kirsten Dunst in Midnight Special (c) Warner Bros

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 21 Apr 2016
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.
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Just the facts:

Title: Midnight Special (2016)
Written by: Jeff Nichols
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Running time: mins
Rating: 112

The Players: Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Sam Shepard,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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