Midnight Special is a film for people that like questions. Not questions with answers, but just…questions. Streams of unanswered, possibly unanswerable, questions. The basic layout is: Roy (Shannon) goes on the run with his son, Alton (Lieberher), who has superpowers (What superpowers? Never mind). They need to get to a certain place at a certain time (Why? Doesn’t matter). Lucas (Edgerton) and Sarah (Dunst) are along for the ride. Then some weird guys from the creepy “Ranch” they used to live on (What? We’ll explain later. Not.) and also the FBI are after them. Cue high-speed chase, dramatic shootout, near-disaster/recovery, and emotional climax followed by paradoxically sad yet uplifting ending.
Midnight Special feels like a film that had a lot of potential, once, a long time ago, when a stoned guy came up with it in a basement. Now it’s gone through the Hollywood machine and come out a discoherent, punctured, grasping mess. I mean, I thought Joel Edgerton was pretty good. They gave Bill Camp’s electrician/henchman character a couple of decent lines. The relationship between Alton and Roy has its moments. Apart from these few redeeming features, Midnight Special is just a black hole of time and money.
Originally published in Crack Magazine