Movies: Midnight Special

I met Jeff Nichols at a film festival a few years back, and he was very encouraging about my screenwriting. However, I wasn't—am still not—ready to take his advice, which was to mount my own production of my script. Does that mean I'm not passionate enough? Or am I simply acknowledging my limits? I don't know.

Anyway, I feel the need to let the reader know my feelings about this movie might be colored by the fact Mr. Nichols was so nice to me.

I had heard good things about Midnight Special, and I have to say it was fairly entertaining. Reminded me of Starman, which was a movie I truly loved as a kid.

Midnight Special is about an 8-year-old boy named Alton who has special abilities. He seems to catch satellite signals, and he also sometimes has light shoot out of his eyes. As the film begins, we only see that there is an amber alert for the boy, and that two men are holding him at a hotel. Then we also see a sort of Branch Davidian-like cult is looking for Alton, too. They want to retrieve him, so it's apparent this cult is where Alton was living.

The FBI gets involved because Alton somehow has access to highly guarded, encrypted government secrets. Things go from there.

While the setup definitely had my attention, I have to say the plot is very linear and thin. This isn't a layered movie, and though there is some action, it's not at the level of the usual sci-fi film. The cult plot is . . . not dropped exactly, but rather abruptly severed. And there was really only ever one possible end result to this movie, so it didn't keep me guessing or anything. But I still enjoyed it for what it was.

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