Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Midnight Special Review

'Midnight Special' is the latest sci fi film to reach the big screen and features a rather impressive cast. Due to my recent trips to the cinema, I have seen this trailer so many times and it really got me excited for seeing this film. Between the story and cast, I couldn't wait for this one to come out! But would 'Midnight Special' be worth the wait or a disappointment?

 Roy (Michael Shannon) finds himself on the run from the government and religious fanatics due to his son Alton's (Jaeden Lieberher) supernatural abilities. He is accompanied by childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) as they need to get Alton to a certain location by May 16th. Working to try and find them is the government and Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) who look to capture Roy and find out the secrets behind Alton's abilities.

Now I was really looking forward to this film. The cast alone got me so excited. I have really enjoyed the recent work from Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver which made it a certainty for me to see this film. I have also enjoyed Michael Shannon in many movies so the cast alone had sold me. Then seeing the trailers and that it looked to be a sci fi thriller with a little boy with unique powers. Man, this film had me sold. I never thought that I would of left the screening that evening disappointed. 

The trailer had set this up to be a gripping and intense story but that is definitely not what you get in 'Midnight Special'. The film is so slow and just mainly uneventful to the point where a lot of it is just boring. Whenever you have so many scenes where the dialogue isn't really that interesting and isn't tension filled combined with a dark and gloomy atmosphere, it makes it really hard to keep focus on the film. But it doesn't grab a hold of you or demands your attention.

There are moments in this that showed potential to have made the film much more interesting. For example at the start when Joel Edgerton's character is confronted by a policeman. If the film had continued from there, it would of been a much better film. The film seemed to be setting up a cat and mouse chase kind of film- similar to the likes of No Country For Old Men- but there isn't really much interaction from the characters involved. In fact the first proper conflict  between the government and those on the run comes when there is only half an hour left in the film! There aren't really any close encounters to keep you excited either. Maybe my expectation and way I seen the movie going played a crucial role in it heavily disappointing me.

It also doesn't help that there are so many confusing things going on throughout the film that at times you just have no clue whatsoever is happening. This is most evident in the last half an hour which I am still trying to comprehend what exactly happened. Very odd to say the least but it was far too confusing as you were too busy wondering what was going on to actually fully enjoy the film. The ending will make you feel like you have taken some weird substance for sure.

I would also say that the cast was most definitely under-utilised especially Adam Driver. Driver was not in this film nearly enough although when he was on screen, he was magnificent. So much more could have been done with him but they failed to do so. Michael Shannon didn't change from looking aggressive and talking quietly with long gaps in between sentences for the whole film. Even when in despair we didn't get to see his true acting capabilities. Joel Edgerton was my favourite performance as he is one of the most relatable characters I have seen in recent movies as a lot of the time, he didn't know what was going on either. No but to be fair, he did produce a solid performance to add to his recent good run of form. The child actor who played Alton did very well as well reacting to everything going on around him.
The under-utilised Adam Driver

The cinematography in this film deserves a lot of praise. The cinematography is truly beautiful throughout the whole film. The dark settings all look incredible throughout and cinematographer Adam Stone deserves a lot of credit for his work in this film. A scene that really stood out to me that looked just incredible was when there was some sort of meteor shower cause by Alton at a gas station. This scene looked incredible and was one of the highlights of the film. Unfortunately with my experience of the film, it is only one of the few I can give it.

Final Verdict = C
A huge disappointment for me as I feel I seen a different film to a lot of critics who are calling it a masterpiece. A dark boring and confusing film that really failed to entertain me throughout its 1 hour and 50 minutes runtime.

So if you have seen 'Midnight Special' what did you think of it? I hope that you enjoyed it more than I did. Once again thank you for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor