Review Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols) – A great encounter of the third kind


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After Jeff Nichols was able to surprise us with two great semi-independent feature films, Mud and Take Shelter in 2010 and 2011, has returned into cinematographic sphere with other two movies in the same year: Loving, which was premiered with great success in Cannes Film Festival, and it is one of the most anticipated films for next Awards Season, and Midnight Special, his first movie made with a major.


It has been peculiar that being a movie under the brand of Warner Bros., a more commercial story and one of the favorite genres for audience, Sci-fi, has had a discreet release.

However, it should not be a reason to ignore this new Nichols’ proposal. The American director wrote a story where he has known to mix the best elements of genre films as well the auteur cinema that is still a signature feature inside his filmography.

When he premiered “Take Shelter”, Nichols captivated us with a too different apocalyptic story and, in some way, he has continued with a mystery story here, but this time about extraterrestrial contact. Midnight Special is the story of a 8 years old boy whereby the AMBER alert has been activated (it is a system created in 1996 to alert early about the missing of child). But what seems a drama about a kidnapping, it changes into something quite different; an exciting and intriguing persecution between US Secret Services and a little religious community in Texas, that is protecting to this boy, who has strange special powers. Powers that is growing out of control.

Starred by Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst and Sam Shepard we got here a movie that absolutely refreshes ET genre films. It is true it could be a minor version of well-known iconic movies “Contact” (1997) by Robert Zemeckis and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) by Steven Spielberg, but it is effective. Midnight Special has many references to Spielberg’s cinema, particularly, because we have a story where adults put at the service of a boy, as well for all magic Spielberg offers in this kind of science fiction films.

It is a fascinating and intriguing movie, not because it has a deployment of visual effects, fireworks, cars crashing into each other, bullets and considerable noise. Not. It is fascinating and intriguing movie because it keeps us expectant about what is the true about this boy, and it is gradually how we know his fate and the real intention of his “kidnappers”. Its ending offers a great moment of encounter of the third kind that closes this great story.

It is true many questions remain open, but is is also clear that Jeff Nichols didn’t write a movie about what, how and why. We are simply eyewitnesses of an unsuspected reencounter.

If you want to watch a really refreshing movie, buy this movie on VOD platforms as soon as possible.

Cast and Crew

  • Director and Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
  • Running Time: 111 minutes
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Casting: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Shepard, Adam Driver
  • Music: David Wingo
  • Cinematography: Adam Stone
  • Edition: Julie Monroe
  • Country: United States
  • Year: 2016

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