……………Sometimes it’s better to go into a film completely blind. These films tend to keep their trailers deliberately ambiguous. 10 Cloverfield Lane is an excellent example of this. Obviously the downside is that you are never sure if the film will be any good.
……….Whilst the trailer for Midnight Special reveals quite a lot about the film it’s still remarkably vague, leaving the viewer to peer into the unknown. It’s a method of building intrigue and suspense and Midnight Special is desperate to prove it can do this.
…..If you are wondering why each sentence starts with a long pause it’s because I’m mocking every line of dialogue in the film. Mock may be the wrong choice of word because the scripting is totally acceptable I just wish each line didn’t start with [dramatic pause].
The story follows Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) who is a special child – and not like “oh he is one of god’s special children” – as some believe him to be a saviour and some a destroyer. Father Roy (Michael Shannon) and friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) kidnap Alton in order to bring him to a mysterious location.
Dramatic pauses serve the early parts of the film well by drawing out the question of who or what Alton is, how his ‘ability’ has put him on an FBI list, who is telling the truth and who knows what exactly?
When you start to piece together what is going on this becomes very quickly irritating as plain time wasting. Get on with it. Say your fucking lines!
The more I watched the more I wanted the film to cut to the chase the more detached I got from the characters and therefore ended up being not quite as gripping and intense as it probably should have been.
It’s also problematic because the film briefly touches upon a fascinating concept that would have been brilliant to explore further but it simply doesn’t have the time to do this. So rather than theorising about what could be a revolutionary cultural phenomenon it is like the end of the 10 o’clock news: “and finally, in other news…”.
To it’s credit though it is well acted and the slow pacing allows a degree of thinking time for both players and onlookers alike that is missing from a lot of Hollywood films.
In fact, whilst it has the slick production of a Hollywood film there is very little in the way of glamorising the main cast which keeps it feeling ground in reality if not quite gritty.
Midnight Special could have been a really great thriller that holds eye-opening concepts – a zero hour for humanity if you will – but this aspect of the film is barely visible. It’s a shame that it’s also the most special part of it.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Starts well
+ Interesting theme
+ Well grounded
– Dramatic pauses [dramatic pause] everywhere!
– Theme not explored enough
– Less gripping as it progresses