Part Close Encounters of the Third Kind, part E.T., the maiden clip for sci-fi flick Midnight Special has loomed online ahead of busy festival season for Jeff Nichols’ drama piece.
Arriving on the heels of an array of hypnotic images from earlier this week, the snippet sheds light on the ominous tone underpinning the director’s genre departure, and it’s one that largely emanates from Jaeden Lieberher’s peculiar young boy. Set against the inky blackness of a remote gas station, Lieberher’s estranged character wanders away from the protection of his father (Take Shelter star Michael Shannon), before a chance meeting with a random stranger appears to instigate a sudden meteor shower.
It’s a freak event that the child appears partially responsible for as well, apologizing to Shannon’s frightened patriarch before the camera pans up at the debris scorching through Earth’s atmosphere. But the question remains: Just what kind of power down Lieberher’s child hold? While he refrained from divulging spoilers, Nichols compared Midnight Special to an old-school, sci-fi chase movie: “There’s this bigger, general idea of sci-fi government chase movies.
Midnight Special will feature at both the Berlin Film Festival and SXSW 2016 in the coming weeks, before a theatrical release on March 18. Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Sam Shepard, and Adam Driver also star.
Every mile that Roy and his eight-year-old son cover on their journey down highways and byways brings us closer to their incredible story. Gradually, we begin to understand why this boy with extraordinary powers has to wear protective glasses. We also learn why religious extremists are interested in him, and why both the local police and high-ranking American government officials are hot on the heels of father and son. In his new film Jeff Nichols may have changed genres but he remains true to himself. Midnight Special is an idiosyncratic mixture of science-fiction and family saga; at the same time, Nichols continues to explore the structures of violence and paranoia in small-town America, showing us both the influence wielded by arch-conservative sects and the powerlessness of the individual in the face of an aggressive state apparatus. The longer their flight continues, the more fantastical it becomes as we observe a loving father undertaking everything in his power to lead his son to his destiny a destiny that could also decide the fate of the entire world.