Not so long ago I wrote an article about my favourite film genre – small scale science fiction. Films like Ex Machina, Looper, Moon and Chronicle have been stand out films in recent years that are not only well made intelligent films, but ones that also appeal to a more mainstream kind of fandom. For me, this is a perfect combination, and by all accounts, this is exactly what Midnight Special was going to be. There’s normally about one a year, so I certainly had my fingers crossed that this might be it.

Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) is a young boy with unique but unspecified powers. His father Roy (Michael Shannon) and his father’s friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton) have taken him on the run, because there are two groups trying to get him. One is a cult that believe he is integral to their belief system, and the other is a typically shady government organisation, that want to study him, and more than likely do some other nasty things.

Midnight Special Review
A loaded gun in a field – like all my family portraits

As you can probably tell, this film has a great cast, and they really help sell what could have been a bit of a silly premise. Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton are just as good as usual, and Jaeden Lieberher does a fine job, and is better than some child actors I’ve seen recently. The film also has good supporting roles for Kirsten Dunst, who certainly doesn’t feel like she’s been missing for a few years, and Adam Driver, who adds some good comedy relief.

The place this film slightly falls down is in the final quarter of the story. The film is only just the right side of being a ‘slow burn’, so it really needed either a fantastic reveal or a brilliant twist, but unfortunately it doesn’t have either. Instead it abandons it’s unique tone and becomes a lot more generic, and while it could have been another small scale sci-fi classic that didn’t get the audience it deserved, unfortunately for me it was a little bit of a disappointment.