Review of "Midnight Special (DVD)"

published 09/08/2017 | thedevilinme
Member since : 13/05/2008
Reviews : 2557
Members who trust : 294
About me :
Ciao made $2,200 profit last year, about $37 bucks a day.
Pro Above average S-Fi
Cons Hidden away
Did you enjoy it?
Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"An above average Sci-Fi you may well have missed guys..."

Midnight Special (DVD)

Midnight Special (DVD)

Star – Michel Shannon
Genre – Science Fiction
Run Time – 112 minutes
Certificate – PG 13
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Wins & 13 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £5.99 Blue Ray
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Jeff Nichols is an exciting and interesting director. His mix of Science -Fiction and Bible Belt feature films are unique and engaging stuff and a director I always watch out for. Disaster movie Take Shelter was good fun and southern craw drama Mud was credited with re-launching Mathew Mconaughey’s career to eventual and surprising Oscar success with The Dallas Buyers Club. Nicholls also penned ‘Loving’ film that got Oscar attention last year. This is Jeff Nicholls 4th film with striking actor Michael Shannon, he of Boardwalk Empire fame as the lugubrious ATF Agent Nelson Van Alden. This is both their best film.

Michael Shannon ... Roy
Joel Edgerton ... Lucas
Kirsten Dunst ... Sarah
Adam Driver ... Sevier
Jaeden Lieberher ... Alton
Bill Camp ... Doak
Scott Haze ... Levi
Sam Shepard ... Calvin Meyer
Paul Sparks ... Agent Miller
David Jensen ... Elden
Sharon Landry ... Merrianne (Doak's Wife)
Dana Gourrier ... Sharon Davison (Councelor)
Allison King …. Jane Adams (Sarah's Mother)


In a Midwest motel, an anxious Roy Tomlin (Michael Shannon) and his friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) watch an AMBER Alert in the TV for a missing 8-year-old Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) and his reported abductor, Tomlin, while the very same boy reads on the floor wring swimming goggle and ear protector headphones,

At a non descript ranch in rural West Texas the head of a religious style cult, Pastor Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard), dispatches two of his followers to retrieve Alton by what by what ever method they deem fit, one of their clan snatched away from them it seems. Whilst facing his congregation of the missing kid the FBI storms their church all armed and dressed in black.

Geeky NSA communications analyst Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) asks the pastor how exactly did classified numbers and codes sent via encoded satellite transmissions make their way into his sermons. Calvin explains that little Alton is strange kid who speaks in tongues and gave the numbers to Calvin. But Alton is no ordinary kid and has strange things happening with him as he grew up, causing his mother to abandoned him and so members of the Ranch have been raising him ever since, with Pastor Meyer as his adoptive father. But Roy is Alton's biological father and he has snatched him back from the church cult.
Roy and Lucas and the kid are soon on the road incognito and after a run in with a statetrooper, seek cover at the home of Elden (David Jensen), a former Ranch member. But he was forced out for unhealthy reasons and when briefly alone with the kid in the safe house triggers the kid’s mighty powers. Sparking Elden out they steel his van and continue on toward a location that little Alton specified that will bring closure to all of this. Members of the Ranch also seem to know this location, but the FBI is desperately trying to figure out where the trio is headed by some of those codes. Wherever that kid is going something big is going to happen and may not be of this world.


I really enjoyed this and an intriguing and seductive nice little niche Science Fiction mystery to engage with. It has the unique twist and ending a good mystery Sci-Fi needs and that twist certainly something I have not seen before on film and so well worth the wait, and watching the film worth it just for that. The film is atmospheric and foreboding throughout and has its own stylish look and feel that elevates it above the norm. The hulking menace of Michael Shannon so right for this movie.

Jeff Nichols has a bit of the Spielberg influence about him in his movie themes and constructs and it shows here. He does that foreboding end of the world thing rather well and throwing in religion adds n extra dimension to the Sci-fi. In fact this one reminds me of the film ‘Signs’ by M Knight Shyamalan. He will get to do a big Comic Book movie soon for sure.

It cost $18 million to make and looks good on it but, somewhat bizarrely, pulling back just $ 8.2 million? That number is as mystifying as the plot. This is really enjoyable mid budget stuff and clearly under appreciated. It’s my job to let you know its well worth a look as nobody else seems to be doing that. It’s certainly one of those films that has suffered du to the demise of highstreet DVD rental and would be thumbed over and done much better money ten years go.

Refreshingly it’s not a slow boiler and we get straight into the crux of the set up and the main characters key to the mystery identified. The cast is good and a makeup-less Reece Witherspoon unrecognizable, perhaps recognizing if she did a film on the directors terms early on is his career she would get the big job later on.

This is not a special effects Sci-Fi so much and most of the menace suggested and un-revealed for most of the film. We have to work out for ourselves if the kid has malicious tendencies, is indeed some sort of messiah or far worse.

This will appeal to Science Fiction fans as it will mainstream and definitely a film you have to seek out by researching your movie picks. I use this website below for a general pointer to what is popular in each year and genre, cross - matching with when it comes to purchase. Flickhart is basically the films that would have been on the shelves in Blockbusters.

RATINGS – 6.7/10.0 (57, 109 votes) – 84% critic’s approval – 76% critic’s approval


Special Features

-Cast & Crew interviews-

Pretty much everyone involved has their own interview.

-Deleted Scenes-

Quite a few


Financial Times –‘The heavens keep splitting to deliver forked tinsel masquerading as sci-fi lightning’.

New Statesman –‘The shortcomings of Nicholls's movie help throw into sharp relief exactly what it was that Spielberg got so right’.

Chicago Reader –‘Riffing on John Carpenter's Starman, writer-director Jeff Nichols has crafted a sci-fi chase film whose gravely naturalistic style adds to its sense of portent’.

The NY Times –‘Taken purely as entertainment, Jeff Nichols' film Midnight Special is a smart, tersely constructed sci-fi adventure in the vein of classics such as E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.

The Mail –‘About a month after seeing James Mangold's wonderful and moving "Logan" I was scrolling through the Netflix queue and stumbled upon a film that shares the same ethos; to project fantastical superhuman abilities through a very human lens.’

The Independent –‘.This is a film that draws you in even as it perplexes you and that ultimately has a very strong emotional kick’.

The Times –‘Some films exist entirely on their own terms, while others benefit from a bit of backstory’.

The Guardian –‘Midnight Special starts strongly, and finishes nowhere very interesting’.


Community evaluation

This review was read 131 times and was rated at
67% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review

Comments on this review

  • euphie published 29/08/2017
    e :o)
  • Chippytarka published 19/08/2017
  • danielalong published 18/08/2017
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

Most popular similar products

Product Information : Midnight Special (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 12 years and over

Actor(s): Michael Shannon, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton

Director(s): Jeff Nichols

Production Year: 2016

Video Category: Feature Film

EAN: 5030305520380


Listed on Ciao since: 30/07/2017