Like, a southern Sci-Fi arthouse Tomorrowland?
Apologies to Jeff Nichols, but I wasn’t too hot on Midnight Special. If you have seen Take Shelter and Mud, you can imagine why Jeff Nichols is being touted as one of the rising forces of American cinema this decade. Always a spiritual and uninhibited filmmaker, I came into this with high anticipation. An emerging American auteur with an ambitious vision backed by one of the few remaining Hollywood studios willing to take risks on its filmmakers. What can go wrong? Unfortunately I was letdown. Was I intrigued by Midnight Special, sure. Nichols had a clear vision that I am positive many will taken by, but it did not work well for me. I felt like the movie began with a disadvantage. There was a missing piece to its puzzle and was never able to recover. It surprisingly left me very emotionally unsatisfied and thematically cold. I blame this on the film confining too much on the mystery of it all. It is a fine piece of filmmaking, I guess. Ambitious, well-directed, well-acted, non-cliched, but I am left admiring it more than liking it because of its intentional lack of exposition. I did not care about these characters or their conflict, and that’s problematic for me to adhere by. I am also unsettled about some of the ideas explored in the third act. A positive note though must go to the musical theme, which at times reminded me of a more amped up take on Howard Shore’s musical composition of Spotlight.
Not too hesitant about Jeff Nichols’ future despite my disappointment. Most will still probably see this as an achievement, but will regardless be a glaring afterthought once Loving anchors this year in film.