6.6/10
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236 user 330 critic

Midnight Special (2016)

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2:03 | Trailer

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A father and son go on the run, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child's special powers.

Director:

Jeff Nichols

Writer:

Jeff Nichols
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Popularity
4,053 ( 128)
3 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Shannon ... Roy
Joel Edgerton ... Lucas
Kirsten Dunst ... Sarah
Adam Driver ... Sevier
Jaeden Martell ... Alton (as Jaeden Lieberher)
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)
Sharon Garrison ... Jane Adams (Sarah's Mother)
Allison King ... Hannah (Ranch Member)
Sean Bridgers ... Frederick (Ranch Member)
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Storyline

Alton Meyer is a boy unlike any other in the world with bizarrely powerful abilities and strange weaknesses. In the middle of the night, his father, Roy, spirits him away from the isolated cult that practically worships him and is determined to regain him at all costs. At the same time, Alton's abilities have been noticed by the US government as well and they are equally insistent on getting to the bottom of this mystery with Paul Sevier of the National Security Agency leading the Federal pursuit with his own questions. These rival hunts force father and son into a desperate run towards a looming date with destiny that could change everything. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's not like us.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and action | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA | Greece

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 2016 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Jeff Nichols/Sci-Fi Project See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$190,012, 20 March 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,707,794, 22 May 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Historic New Orleans area (Gretna) supermarket "Casey Jones", which was recently closed, made a brief cameo late in the movie. See more »

Goofs

The debris from the exploded satellite falls around the truck stop plaza at about a 55-60 degree angle, but the last image from the satellite appears to have been taken almost directly overhead (85-90 degrees). If the image was taken overhead just before the explosion, the satellite debris would indeed have fallen at an acute angle as it slowed and entered the atmosphere, but it would have landed many miles away, not on the same spot it was imaging directly below. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Tomlin: Roy will get him here.
Lucas: If he's not dead.
Lucas: Sorry.
Sarah Tomlin: Roy won't let that happen.
Lucas: Yeah, I hope not.
Sarah Tomlin: He believes in something. You don't.
Lucas: It doesn't matter. Good people die every day believing in things.
Sarah Tomlin: Roy spent two years watching another man raise our son.
Sarah Tomlin: He did what I couldn't.
Sarah Tomlin: He'll do anything to get him here.
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Soundtracks

Like Shadow in an Empty Cathedral
Written by Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist
Performed by From the Mouth of the Sun
Courtesy of Experimedia Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Terrific opening scene
18 March 2016 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Austin-based filmmaker Jeff Nichols serves up some of the familiar themes of spiritualism and parenting seen in his first three films: Mud (2012), Take Shelter (2011), Shotgun Stories (2007), but this time he goes a bit heavier on the science fiction … while maintaining his focus on the individual.

An exceptional opening scene kicks off the story, and Nichols makes sure we are alert by forcing us to absorb and assemble the slew of clues flying at us … an Amber alert, cardboard on the windows of a cheap motel, a news report tying us to San Angelo, Texas, duct tape on the peep hole, a duffel bag of weapons, two anxiety-filled men, and a goggled-boy under a white sheet who seems extremely calm in an otherwise hectic environment. We learn a lot, yet many questions remain.

As the boy and the two men speed off down the backroads, the setting switches to an eerily calm Calvin Meyer (the always great Sam Shepard), who is the leader of a religious cult similar to the Branch Davidians. "The Ranch" is desperate to get the boy back, and we learn they worship the numbers and words the boy has "received" from above. An FBI agent (Paul Sparks) leads the raid on the compound and takes us to an interrogation of Calvin by NSA analyst Paul Sevier (Adam Driver).

Alternating between sci-fi special effects and an "on the run" story line, we slowly pick up more details about the boy Alton (Jaeden Lieberther), as well as the men with him – his father Roy (Michael Shannon) and Roy's childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton). It's not long before they reunite with Alton's mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) and we really start to comprehend just how different and special Alton is.

It's easy to see the influence of such films as Starman, E.T.: The ExtraTerrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. We are reminded that our society inevitably assumes the worst when something we don't understand appears right in front of us. The Ranch sees the boy as a savior, and the government labels him a weapon. But it's Shannon who captures the protective determination of a father trying to do the right thing for his son. Shannon again flashes the best 'pained' expression in the business, but it's young Lieberther (so terrific in St. Vincent) who allows us to accept the father/son story in spite of the bright white lasers shooting from his eyeballs.

There are plenty of unanswered questions – not the least of which is, how did two "normal" parents end up with this "special" son? The visuals near the end are impressive to see on screen, but don't appear to have much impact on the final questioning of Lucas or our understanding of how it all happened. It should also be noted that the piano score is especially impactful during both the quiet and thrilling moments. Director Nichols is a talented idea man, but he does leave us wanting more details. (That's his brother singing the song over the closing credits.)


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