Midnight Special | DVD review – Jeff Nichols’ genre-bending sci-fi chase thriller

There are echoes of 70s/80s Spielberg and Carpenter, but writer-director Jeff Nichols confirms he's an original with this genre-bending sci-fi chase thriller.

Midnight Special Jaeden Lieberher

From intriguingly enigmatic opening to mind-blowing close, genre-bending sci-fi chase thriller Midnight Special takes us on a very strange trip.

Writer-director Jeff Nichols takes compass readings from 70s/80s-era Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter and from more recent low-budget sci-fi, but the course he charts is all his own.

The journey starts with a father and son. Tightly wound dad Roy (Michael Shannon, displaying his customary bug-eyed intensity), snatches his young son (Jaeden Lieberher) from a fundamentalist cult that regards the boy as its prophet. They then take urgent flight down the backroads of Texas, pursued both by the cult and also by the FBI, who have taken an interest in the strange powers the boy appears to possess.

With Joel Edgerton (the father’s loyal friend), Kirsten Dunst (his wife), and Adam Driver (a sympathetic NSA analyst) also caught up in the chase, things get very weird.

You may find the final destination a strain, but what grounds the movie – and makes it so involving and gripping – is the fervent, emotionally credible bond between father and son.


Certificate 12. Runtime 112 mins. Director Jeff Nichols

Midnight Special is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download, courtesy of Entertainment One.

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