shahbakht’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a rarity: a movie that doesn't opt for much of a set-up or exposition, instead lets the questions build in the mind of the viewer and decided to throw little information at them. I was engrossed from the beginning. This is a lot of things: a sci fi thriller, a conspiracy thriller, a chase movie. Add to that, the central mystery keeps you on the edge of your toes.
I do not disagree that the final resolution doesn't live up to the promise of the first two halves of the movie, but I was willing to overlook that because so much good came before the ending. The slow-build reveals, the mythos that was created. This would have been a fairly typical and boring movie had there been an expositional scene in the beginning stating all the powers of Alton and what not. Jeff Nichols gets rid of anything like that and we are at once thrown into the action.
The performances are the real winners of the movie. Michael Shannon is such a talented and gifted actor, intense to his very core, but here he brings a parental and humane vulnerability. He's a father who has to let go of his son, knowing he might not see him ever again but also realising what is best for him. Joel Edgerton plays the loyal friends, willing to see it to the end. Kirsten Dunst is the loving mother, who knows that she might soon has to say goodbye to her son forever but that is what is supposed to happen and she goes with it. Adam Driver is utterly brilliant in his turn as an NSA employee, who sees what he is chasing. Not a villain by any means. This has a E.T.-ish feel to it: government officials lurking around, looking for a being with supernatural powers, and Nichols seems to be playing well in that genre.
I want more movies like this.