Midnight Special ★★

40/100

Jeff Nichols's Midnight Special buries itself in secrets and a brooding, lucid sense of ambiguity, and it's exciting and unbalanced in equal measure. Carried by great performances (although Kirsten Dunst is sorely underused) and a truly hypnotic score, this sci-fi road-trip genre mix has its heart and mind in the right place, both as a late-70s/80s homage and a familial drama, but all of the mysteries never materialize in any satisfying form. Even worse is how the film lures the audience into reaching out for the ideas slightly beyond them even though there's no attempt of foundation or building the rules of its world. Jeff Nichols, at the very least, understands tone and committing to a singular, pulsating rhythm, but nothing past his frames or his sly exposition dumps makes *any* sort of sense*. The questions left following the film's conclusion aren't the result of a perplexing, enigmatic narrative, but a baffling lack of motive, cause, and interest. It's stupid to expect me to solve a puzzle - either through emotional or narrative means - with all the pieces missing. Jeff Nichols is an admirable director in many aspects, but holy fuck, he does not know how to end a movie.

*Not even kidding, there's a scene where Adam Driver's NSA character has an "Eureka!" moment on the whereabouts of Alton and nothing is said or shown besides Driver circling two numbers and changing course. What.

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