August 21, 2016

Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols, 2016
Jeff Nichols is one of the most interesting filmmakers working today. Rooted in this sort of gritty, southern gothic headspace - he is able to convey images through the eyes of the everyman and sometimes figures struggling at poverty level America.

Viewers got a taste of the supernatural in his 2011 film Take Shelter. By going down that avenue he separated himself from his prior film Shotgun Stories, which was really just a straight drama picture. The supernatural elements in Take Shelter were so well used, and the ending was one of the best endings in modern cinema.

Midnight Special is interesting, because it's a really great film but probably my least favorite of his filmography. For me personally, I would probably rank Nichols films:

1. Take Shelter
2. Mud
3. Shotgun Stories
4. Midnight Special

There are a lot of things to appreciate with this movie. The unique supernatural elements, that in a sense resemble character "11" in 2016's Stranger Things on Netflix. And actually, the two can compared to each other even more with the alternate dimension concepts that both pieces of work experiment with. But Nichols is confident in his film-making, not willing to slow things down or worse - dumb things down for the viewer. There is some decision making with the picture that is bold, and really does pay off at the end of the day. The decision to not show a cliche car chase scene, and instead, focus on the aftermath as the car descends upon it. Some sudden shifts in the story without waiting for the audience to catch up. Midnight operates that way. It is what it is, Nichols probably doesn't care if you don't approve of some of his methods of storytelling. And while the end may be a bit confusing, it's something that is still lingering with me days after viewing.

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