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Midnight Special
BLU-RAY disk
07.12.2016 By: Chris Bumbray
Midnight Special order download
Director:
Jeff Nichols

Actors:
Michael Shannon
Joel Edgerton
Kirsten Dunst
Adam Driver
Jaeden Lieberher

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A desperate father (Michael Shannon) finds himself on the run with his young son (Jaeden Lieberher) and a former friend (Joel Edgerton) after saving the boy from a cult, whoíll stop at nothing to reclaim him. Meanwhile, theyíre also pursued by the NSA, who have noticed the boyís strange abilities.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Iím fond of thinking that if MIDNIGHT SPECIAL had come out twenty or thirty years ago, it would have been a smash hit. It says something rather sad about our current film culture that a mainstream movie like MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, despite being produced by a major studio, had to struggle to find screens and generate business during itís too-quick theatrical window earlier this year. The absence of big-stars or an easily digestible plot seemed to doom it at the box office.

No matter, for those of us who went out of our way to see Jeff Nicholsís passionate throwback to eighties sci-fi classics like STARMAN, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL was a revelation. It currently sits atop my ďbest of 2015Ē list and let me tell you Ė itíll take a lot to dislodge it. Thus, I was thrilled when the Blu-Ray showed up on my door for review, as itís a film Iíll be revisiting over-and-over.

One of the best, current, American directors, Jeff Nichols has once again taken a genre formula and twisted it into something deeply personal. With SHOTGUN STORIES, he took the indie crime film and subverted it into a non-violent morality tale, while TAKE SHELTER took doomsday dramas down to earth, while MUD turned adventure-romances into a heartbreaking tragedy, with a redemptive finale. MIDNIGHT SPECIAL does the same thing for sci-fi, with fantastic elements being downplayed in favor of realism. Sure, thereís something otherworldly and fantastic going-on, but itís presented in a matter-of-fact way that makes it seem all the more real, a factor which makes this unlike any sci-fi fantasy released since the days of Ambliní.

Once again, Nichols uses Michael Shannon in an interesting way, casting him against type as a caring-parent. His intensity is on display, but instead of using it for villainous ends, itís meant to evoke a heroic, loving parent doing what he can to protect his own. Lieberher is terrific as his gifted son, in a performance thatís far earthier than youíd think given the premise. Kirsten Dunst (coming off a great run on Fargo), Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver all turn in memorable performances in their richly written supporting turns, while David WiIngo contributes a phenomenal score. The Blu-Ray also does an excellent job showcasing cinematographer Adam Stoneís visuals.
THE EXTRAS
Origins: A quick but interesting special feature, with Nichols discussing his influences, cut-up with comments from the cast and producer. Itís a bit quick at five minutes, but interesting.

The Unseen World: A couple of quick featurettes (running just over ten minutes in total) that examines each of the major characters, with feedback from the performer playing them. This is better than your average EPK but still minor.

Theatrical Trailer

And thatís it. Itís a shame WB wasnít able to get Nichols to do a commentary Ė it seems like a waste when so many other, far less interesting films get them.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Hereís the thing Ė MIDNIGHT SPECIAL is not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi movie. Itís cerebral in a way few contemporary genre films have are, save from something like Duncan Jonesís MOON (with which this would make a good double feature). If you give it a chance, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL will totally take you by surprise and I bet that in ten years when 2016ís big blockbusters are forgotten, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL will still have a devoted cult following.
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5:08PM on 07/13/2016

Seeing Soon

I have been intrigued by this movie for a time. Not enough to see it at theaters but I am expecting the bluray next week from Netflix. MS is a versatile actor who has avoided being type cast. If it is as good as you say Chris i will add it to my library.
I have been intrigued by this movie for a time. Not enough to see it at theaters but I am expecting the bluray next week from Netflix. MS is a versatile actor who has avoided being type cast. If it is as good as you say Chris i will add it to my library.
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+0
11:10AM on 07/12/2016
Oops third paragraph you refer to the film as 'MIDNIGHT SHELTER ' :)
Oops third paragraph you refer to the film as 'MIDNIGHT SHELTER ' :)
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