“You have no idea what you’re dealing with.”
And with that line that has appeared in a myriad of other films like it, the ball begins to roll in Jeff Nichols’s straight sci-fi effort. In many ways, Midnight Special feels like Spielberg making Cameron’s The Abyss, and I can’t imagine anyone would (nor should) take that as a criticism. But Nichols has obviously taken many cues from directors before him here, even if his rural Americana vibe and affection present in Take Shelter and Mud (both “better” films) remains intact. Most everything works, though. The kid has an apt young-Culkin quality to him, the plot is indeed soulful, and the effects are just understated enough. Plus, the actors — Michael Shannon in particular (as always) — really help sell everything that’s happening.
My VHS cover quote: “Not since Star Wars VII has there been a science fiction film featuring Adam Driver.”