Movie Review: Midnight Special

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars

Bottom Line: Great premise.  Great build up.  Complete let-down of an ending.

What we have here is a failure to resolve anything.  Or, to be fair, things are resolved but not in a terribly satisfying way.  It is hard to explain why without saying things that I would consider ruining the enjoyment of the movie.  This is definitely one of those movies that is best to enter into with a tabula rasa.  I will point to one inconsequential tidbit as an example.  At the very beginning, Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) is kidnapped by his father Roy (Michael Shannon) and Roy’s friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton).  An Amber Alert goes out telling everyone to be on the lookout for them.  Not once is it explained who called in the kid as missing.  It is explained why various parties wouldn’t have done so, but never who did.  It’s a minor point, but there are major points galore that are never explained by the time the closing credits roll.

Where he’s going he doesn’t need roads.  “Midnight Special” is a journey.  Along the journey, the questions pile up as you try to figure out the role each person plays and wonder what’s up with the kid.  It is effectively done.  Much of this is due to the wonderful ensemble cast including Kirsten Dunst (who is one of maybe three women who have a speaking role in the movie) and Adam Driver (who I still don’t understand why women find attractive).  It is also a really good story.  All of the elements are there for a terrific movie.  It probably says more about the type of movie I want to see than it does about the quality of the movie that the ending was like a giant balloon being deflated and had me leaving the movie with a sense of emptiness which ruined my enjoyment up to that point.  Also, if you can explain to me why the movie is named “Midnight Special”, you win the grand prize.  It didn’t even have the Creedence Clearwater Revival song in its soundtrack.  Or even better, the LedBelly version.

If you want answers or the truth, you can’t handle this movie.  But if you want a slickly built, tension building chase movie, “Midnight Special” is worth your time even if you are disappointed with the ending.

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