SXSW Film Review | Midnight Special
4.3Overall Score

Director Jeff Nichols once again proves that he’s one of the best storytellers of our time. Michael Shannon’s character goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Ultimately, his father risks everything to protect Alton and help fulfill a destiny that could change the world forever, in this genre-defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human.


MIDNIGHT SPECIAL is almost like an adult version of an adventurous 1980’s youth adventure, when the grown-ups are the bad guys, as the kid takes on the star role and headlines the harrowing journey. Only this time, the kid has super powers and there are actually a few more adults acting as good guys.  Jeff Nichols helms this film as, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL highlights a chase across the country as a couple of creepy religious zealots, a bunch of government spooks and a couple of grown-ups trying to do the right thing harness the super human powers of a special child in the effort to capture him or guarantee his freedom.


Overall, I really enjoyed the film but probably wouldn’t see this in the theater. Jeff Nichols tells an adventurous and intriguing story, but it feels like its been done before.  I don’t hold that against him in anyway because he manages to keep me in my seat until the very end. Midnight Special will be great for a weekend of binge watching at home once it’s on HBO.


Director: Jeff Nichols

Principal Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

About The Author

Hayden Walker
Executive Editor | Co-Publisher

Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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