Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols)

I really wanted to love Midnight Special, but I just had to settle with liking it. Jeff Nichols is a director which I admire tremendously, but there's always been a detachment for me with each of his first three films (Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud). Don't get me wrong, I recommend each one of them, especially Mud which has a southern-based Huck-Finn inspired vibe that really grows on you. My relative problem with Nichols is that he hasn't hit a home run yet, even though he oughtta have this point given some of the touches of greatness I've seen in his films.

Midnight Special has those touches, especially in its second half which is wildly imaginative, but still maintains the vicious realness of the world depicted. It's a mix of Sci-Fi, road trip, mystery and really many other genres. It does work, but to a certain extent. There are some scenes that seem so aloof and unnecessary and put you on the outside looking in,whereas there are other scenes that do the total opposite. Sometimes the film is so cold that it becomes impenetrable, whereas other times it soars and lifts you up with its artfulness.

Nichols regular Michael Shannon shows up, so do Joel Edgarton and Kristen Dunst. They all three take the risk of sheltering and protecting this boy that seems to have an other-worldly power that beams through his eyes. They need to take him to an isolated part of the country so that he can find his way back home. If it sounds Spielbergian, the film is indeed very reminiscent of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T. except those movies never had such stylistic and tonal changes, they rode by their running time in consistently potent fashion. Spielberg knew what he wanted to have on the big screen as feel and went all the way with it. It seems here Nichols has so many ideas that he tries to juggle all of them at once.