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Midnight Special

Sci-Fi . Science Fiction . Drama . Adventure

A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers.

Actors: Michael Shannon , Kirsten Dunst , Joel Edgerton , Adam Driver , David Jensen , Scott Haze , Jaeden Lieberher , Sam Shepard , Dana Gourrier , Sean Bridgers
Directors: Jeff Nichols
Country: USA
Release: 2016-02-18
More Info:
  • Kenneth Turan

    Midnight Special announces the arrival of a filmmaker in total control of his technique as well as our emotions. A bravura science-fiction thriller that explores emotional areas like parenthood and the nature of belief, it's a riveting genre exercise as well as something more.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    Midnight Special respects your intelligence, letting you come to its themes emotionally instead of narratively. It is a breathtaking display of visual storytelling, confidently rendered by someone who understands the power of cinema. Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    This is a very raw, sad, and beautiful film about faith and fatherhood, and it feels just as grounded and big-hearted as the other films Nichals has made.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    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.

    Variety Full Review
  • David Rooney

    Midnight Special confirms Nichols' uncommon knack for breathing dramatic integrity and emotional depth into genre material.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    As father and son speed toward some doomsday reckoning, Nichols keeps us guessing in a way that evokes "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Midnight Special is a more modest, more enigmatic film than that one was, but it’s no less gripping.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    Shannon, best known for playing weirdos and crazies, is uniquely good at playing restrained everymen, and he inhabits the role of Roy as a man of unspoken internal conflicts and complicated feelings.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    How the film plays out, and what happens to the boy and the adults in his company, may prove a revelation, or a disappointment, or something in between. But getting there is thrilling and wondrously strange.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Soren Andersen

    The picture is a long tease, artfully constructed. Mood is all-important, and it’s a mood designed to keep the audience off balance and on edge until the very end.

    The Seattle Times Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    It’s refreshing to find yourself immersed in a film that zigs and zags between genres — and occasionally zaps your senses with an electric charge of shock and awe.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Go with it. Let Nichols turn your head around. He sure as hell will. One caveat: Nichols drops you into the action, no backstory road map. What you see is what you get. Luckily, what you get is extraordinary.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Jeff Nichols fashions three-quarters of a terrific movie with Midnight Special, a slow burn science fiction thriller. The rest is merely gripping, which isn't a bad problem to have.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Tasha Robinson

    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 Verge Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    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 Playlist Full Review
  • Ben Nicholson

    The slow burn lead-up may not be to all tastes, but if you can tune in to its broadcast frequency Midnight Special will shine its light on you too.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Jamie Graham

    Taken as a throwback to the thrillers of Carpenter and Spielberg’s cinema of wonder, it is special indeed. Not least because it honours its influences and yet remains, first and foremost, a Jeff Nichols film.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Dan Jolin

    Nichols mounts impressive visual effects and frantic bursts of action.... But the film’s strength is in its humanity rather than its super-humanity.

    Empire Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    This is a really good movie made by a terrific talent, stunningly shot and confidently directed.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    A beautifully strange and stirring sci-fi adventure.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    I suspect this movie will sharply divide Nichols' existing fan base for reasons I can only allude to vaguely in a review; I loved it, or almost all of it, but I can understand the uncertainty. Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Midnight Special is a movie worth believing in. It's an alternative to the assembly line that turns hot young directors into purveyors of the latest shade of superhero spandex. Little here feels like science or fiction but sci-fi is exactly what this is, from the heart and out of this world.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Fionnuala Halligan

    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.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    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.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    There’s a certain spiritualism that inhabits all of Nichols’ films, and I’m not sure that the explanations finally offered to shed light on the specialness of this child are truly sufficient. But in the context of the movie, it all works.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    It’s an absolutely chilling road picture, filled with tension, dread and a threat of violence. The longer we don’t know where that threat is coming from, the more suspenseful it is.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The truth is that this is a mystery movie, and the mystery is trying to figure out exactly what the heck is going on here.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Nichols establishes such a grounded sense of atmosphere and such superb control of mood and pacing, that the odd hiccup barely matters.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    What happens, when it happens, is … well, either enough or too much, depending on your taste for the fantastic.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    If E.T. was human, wore swim goggles and read Superman comics by flashlight, he’d be the 8-year-old boy at the center of the heartfelt, lo-fi sci-fi spectacular Midnight Special.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    You may feel echoes of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Starman,” but writer-director Jeff Nichols has ultimately crafted his own unique twist on the genre.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Dan Caffrey

    Only in its final stretch does Midnight Special start to lose its distinct identity.

    Consequence of Sound Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    Yet Nichols’s movie, though smudged by its dénouement, is not wrecked, and already I am desperate — with a Roy-like yearning — to return to it, and to revel anew in its group portrait of those who are haunted by the will to believe.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Nichols’s mythic aspirations are still a puzzle to me; I’m not sure he has connected all the dots in his psyche yet, or that he fully brings off his finale. But I love watching his movies.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    The charm and audacity of this film lie in the way it blends the commonplace and the bizarre.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Nichols has a light touch when it comes to genre, which is Midnight Special's great blessing and curse.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Kate Taylor

    As other worlds reveal themselves, what started with a gripping premise slackens and goes limp.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Christopher Gray

    It starts off as a dynamic parable about faith before wilting into a glum and rather disingenuous paean to the family.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    Midnight Special goes off its own narrative cliff, capping a compelling story with a third-act resolution so misguided that’s it’s the dramatic equivalent of punching the gas and plunging into the abyss.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Rory O'Connor

    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 Film Stage Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    One question in particular hangs heavily over the entire film, a plot hole so distracting it becomes the only thing you can think about.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Midnight Special is a sincere movie, but sometimes sincerity is half the problem.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    Midnight Special eventually sputters to a conclusion that confuses vagueness for ambiguity. The most compelling questions it leaves behind don’t have to do with its plot but with its creator: How much time should a young director have to make good on his potential?

    Slate Full Review
  • Benjamin Lee

    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.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Ambiguous and ludicrous at the same time, director Mr. Nichols (Mud) claims to have structured Midnight Special as a fast-moving thriller, but it’s slow as an inchworm and about as thrilling as buttermilk. Clearly, he’s been watching too many Christopher Nolan movies.

    New York Observer Full Review
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