Packed with an all-star cast, a director with increasingly impressive credits, and a ton of hype, Midnight Special had an indie release that should be more impressive than others. I was glad to see it playing at the local Cinemark though I almost missed it showing in one of the smaller theaters. I did catch the Jeff Nichols-directed sci-fi thriller and have to say that there is plenty to enjoy about this film.
The story revolves around a mysterious boy and a cult that raised him. Michael Shannon plays Roy Tomlin, the boy's father who has taken the boy from the cult and with the help of his friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton), they are on the run from the cult and the FBI. Shannon is charming and sentimental as the father, a change from the heartless and evil villains he often plays. Edgerton has a decent southern accent.
The story moves along slowly though there are some surprising twists and a moderate amount of special effects that kept me engaged. I like to think of this as the right amount of special effects, not too much to overload the eyes but also helping the story progress.
In pursuit of the boy is an NSA agent played by Adam Driver who is growing his career as an actor in an impressive manner. Driver has some interesting parts but nothing too strenuous. Jaeden Lieberher who plays the gifted child was probably the breakout performance of this film and stole the show from all these impressive actors.
Kirsten Dunst shows up as the boy's mother halfway through and does a decent job. I have enjoyed her last few career choices with Fargo and now this film. The action definitely kept me on edge and the finale was a decent payoff, though it is often impossible to end a story about the unexplainable with a solid payoff explanation. I am definitely looking forward to what Nichols directs in the future.