Midnight Special (12A)

A cult fight to capture a boy that they believe can save the world. At first glance there isn’t anything that remarkable about Alton (Jaeden Lieberher). He looks like any other child.

But looks can be deceiving. Alton has to sleep in the day because the sunlight could kill him. He also sports a pair of goggles at all time. Not because his eyes are sensitive to light, but because when he removes then laser-strength rays beam out.

This supersonic light causes people to see unimaginable things, hence why the cult led by Calvin Meyers (Sam Shepard) are keen to track him down following his escape. Alton is their salvation. They believe that the end of days is coming and that as long as he remains with them no harm will come to the group.

That’s why Alton’s father, Roy (Michael Shannon) helped him escape. But as you can imagine Alton isn’t easy to hide due to his special powers and soon enough the FBI are on their tail. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government.

Alton’s talents have captured the attention of Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) from the National Security Agency leading the Federal pursuit.

With the help of Roy’s childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) and Alton’s mother Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) the duo manage to evade the cult and the FBI. But it’s only a matter of time until they catch them.

The continued exposure to daylight means that Alton grows weaker by the day. As the two rival groups pursue Alton they force the father and son to risk it all to fulfil a destiny that could change the world forever.

Midnight Special is as supernatural as it is intimately human. It’s unlike any movie I have seen before. Now you would that would be a good thing right? I mean I see heaps of movies. But for Midnight Special I’ll make an exception. It lacks any real identity.

It’s neither sci-fi nor thriller nor action movie, instead it’s a sporadic combination of the three and the rest of the time you don’t know what the hell it’s trying to be. And it’s this inconsistency that leaves you not really knowing what to make of it which is a real shame because it had so much potential.

With a cast like Michael Shepard, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver you would expect fireworks, instead you’re handed a knock-off Nigel sparkler.

By Ruth Walker
★★☆☆☆

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