Sunday, March 12, 2017

3 Short Paragraphs: Midnight Special

2016, Jeff Nichols (Mud) -- download

Despite its lack of love at The Oscars, Nichols also did the racially sensitive flick Loving that at the very least brought Ruth Negga to the Dolby Theatre for her Best Actress nomination. Yes, I am kind of belittling the importance of the movie (which I have not seen) but I like Ruth Negga. Before that, he did this odd nod to E.T.  and other movies where someone of alien origin must run from the authorities, and people even more dangerous. No, this is not a stretch at a Trump metaphor.

Alton is spirited away by his father Roy played again by Michael Shannon, and his father's childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton), from a religious cult that make use of Alton's strange prescient powers, powers that are drawn out of him via brilliant, overwhelming beams of light from his eyes. Alton is being drawn to a location, a location the cult wishes to control and the government is fearful of. Nobody really knows where he is going. But they all give chase.

We don't quite trust Roy, but Alton does implicitly, as does Lucas, who went from being state trooper to fugitive, all on Roy's word. We never know quite why Alton is so important to the cult, but Roy just knows anything is required to keep Alton away from them. It is this tension that keeps dragging us along despite little in the way of explanation. Nichols doesn't see the need for exposition, but we get reminders of Alton's power along the way, also to remind Roy in case he is beginning to waver. I see less Spielberg and more Proyas (think Dark City or Knowing) but with precision focus on the humans involved.... until we hit the end. Of that ending, which I will not spoil, which ends the chase but leaves sooooo many questions, for not just us, but the entire world.