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August 14, 2016 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Midnight Special

★★★★

Director: Jeff Nichols

 

Following in the footsteps of Spielberg’s excellent sci-fi output of previous decades, this new film from the acclaimed director of Mud, Jeff Nichols, is a mashup of classic government conspiracy and sci-fi tropes of the 70s, with a twist of darkness and an element of the supernatural. Think less E.T. and more Cloverfield.

The film drops us in the midst of a father and son’s attempt to escape the CIA and a very Gloriavale-esque cult, both of whom want the man’s son, eight year old Alton, for his supposed supernatural abilities. What ensues is a deeply engaging thriller which side-steps the overblown Hollywood style in favour of slow burning drama with occasional riveting flares of action that are graphic and thought provoking. The actors all pull their weight, with Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, and Kirsten Dunst honing the story down to its emotional core of a father who will do anything for son.

Jeff Nichols bring a subtleness to the film and his sparing use of CGI make it a visual treat, with stunning night photography and methodical pacing. The only real issue is that a little too much of the steam gets lost in the third act, as some of characters moments could really have been shelved earlier in the film and the editor could have been a tad more heavy handed in spearheading the final scenes, but the final pay off more than makes up for this. If 10 Cloverfield Lane was your jam, then this is your second fix of riveting sci-fi for 2016.

[ssba]

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