Saturday, January 21, 2017

Midnight Special

Unearthly existence should have been able to change lives or points of view but I never felt that here.  Actually a change feels like a requirement since the protagonists came from a cult.

Midnight Special though sounding like a 24 hour deliver service is in fact a cat and mouse story that ironically ends in broad daylight with millions of witnesses.  The story’s sci-fi component was built up slow and steady. Drawback is that no one among the millions – on screen anyway – explicitly asked what it is they saw and that left me feeling empty.

Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) is the mouse on the run with his father Roy (Michael Shannon) and a friend of his father, Lucas (Joel Edgerton).  Driving on country roads using only night vision goggles was a nice touch.  It heightens the importance of the cat chasing them.

Alton acts like a medium for this cult.  All the messages from God are received by him and of late the message is that of a date.  For devout members it meant day of judgement, for Roy it meant something else hence the escape.

Michael Shannon carried the emotional load of the story.  If nothing else Midnight Special is about a family on the run.  Joel Edgerton who is Lucas, friend to Michael’s character, fits well as the grunt.  It is easy to determine between the two who is the lead and the follower; who is more the muscle than the other; but both of are devoted to Alton.  If there’s anything wrong with the chemistry of the two it is that Michael just give’s off too strong a presence.  At times I can’t help thinking why would General Zod be on the run.  On the times that he does Jaeden was enough to make Michael look like a desperate father again.

Kirsten Dunst comes as an unnatural fourth wheel as Alton’s mother Sarah.  You would think a mother would be more possessive especially since the son has been taken away from her but she ended up as the most reasonable.

Michael and Kirsten Dunst is a more difficult buy – though in real life they are just 8 years apart, looking at them it felt more.  If you count the cult factor then their appearance makes sense.  Procreation more of obligation than love, they respect each other but the boy is what connects them.

Following the heels of the runaway family is an Agent Paul Sevier played by The Force Awaken’s Adam Driver.  Having seen the latest Star Wars ahead of this movie the hairs at back of my neck wanted to shout Kylo Ren every time I see him.  I think as the story progressed I got used to him.

Although the story did not dwell on the cult, Alton and family did escape it.  I am no expert but I assume people enter that type of world in search of meaning that they thought doesn’t exist in the real world.  While physically running there should also be a mental and spiritual detachment as well.  It’s like the story opened the door – escaping the cult – but it closed, everyone was either running or chasing. 

And remember, Alton is the medium. The cult sees him for ‘new’ gospel so I felt I needed him too for answers which will never be given because now that I think of it, no one is actually asking the right questions.  Even with the big ending.

A world exists beyond our own and all everyone did – millions of them – was look.