Kat’s review published on Letterboxd:
#3 July Scavenger Hunt
6. A road trip movie (lol)
I was really looking forward to this because a) Micheal Shannon and b) the poster entranced me since it was first released. This was my first Jeff Nicholls film, and I have to say I'm quite underwhelmed.
I suspect some of this stems from the fact that I saw it on a flight, and probably was not able to get the full scope of the admittedly beautiful cinematography and effects, but I think the root problem lies with the fact that this film has a great premise (a boy with powers raised in a cult that worship him is taken away by his father; they go on a road trip of sorts while trying to evade the FBI) and yet remains kind of boring?
When Midnight Special is good though, it's great. The performances are all pretty good - Micheal Shannon is always solid, Kirsten Dunst interesting (but criminally underused!) For me the real star is Adam Driver, surprisingly, considering the fact that I don't usually really like him. Every one of his scenes stood out, though I think in particular of the one in which he meets Alton.
When it's bad, it's dull. It only just held my attention enough to keep watching, which is shame in a film about super powers and cults and running from the law and, like, heaven? I have mixed thoughts on the ending, but at the same time, I don't know how else they could have ended it.
It's a perplexing watch; not quite boring to be shut off, but not quite interesting enough to really succeed.