Critic Reviews



Based on 44 critic reviews provided by
Midnight Special confirms Nichols' uncommon knack for breathing dramatic integrity and emotional depth into genre material.
Nichols’ impressively restrained yet limitlessly imaginative fourth feature takes its energy from an ensemble of characters who hold fast to their convictions, even though their beliefs remain shrouded in mystery for much of the journey.
The Playlist
Structured as a low-key chase movie, unfolding with the dark urgency of a conspiracy thriller, living mostly not in your heart or even your mind but in the hairs on the back of your neck, "Midnight Special" actually emerges most resonantly as an almost mournful ode, or maybe a psalm, to the primal instincts of fatherhood.
The film moves effortlessly, with plenty of tense thrills and surprise reveals. It’s relentless, but rarely rushed. The action is terse, and in one unexpected case, breathless and terrifying.
The most haunting part of this riskily earnest film isn’t the unmentionable effects coup of its grand finale, but the quieter beats, all in close-up, that comprise its coda: atomised, spent, and sad.
As with all its cinematic precedents, there’s a race to a destination, many people involved, and at times the going can be uneven. The payoff, though, is worth it.
Only in its final stretch does Midnight Special start to lose its distinct identity.
Village Voice
Nichols has a light touch when it comes to genre, which is Midnight Special's great blessing and curse.
The Film Stage
The details in Midnight Special, Nichols’ homage-heavy sci-fi thriller set in his signature Deep South locale, are sometimes so scant as to be jarring. Yes, less is often more in Hollywood, but it can also be just plain less.
The Guardian
There’s an absence of fun here, and for what is ultimately a chase movie, a severe lack of pace. Nichols doesn’t feel like a strong match for the genre or for the very specific type of fantasy movie he wants to make.

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