Vinny Thornburg’s review published on Letterboxd:
Are you ready for some mumblecore scifi? You got it here.
Jeff Nichols is still one of my more anticipated filmmakers. I'll always be happy when he's got something new out, and despite Midnight Special disappointing me, I'm still ready see Loving later this year.
Midnight Special has a key issue, where I really didn't care for anyone in the film. Not in a "I hope they die" way, but just apathy. When things start to be at a supposed emotional level at the end, It barely hits. There's points here of having to deal with the potential loss of a child, and in general a loss of life and everything you know and love.
But instead I just sat still. Nothing really felt hard hitting, and I was left feeling this may be my least favorite Nichols film.
There's way too many parts here that should be impactful. A Texas cult that believes an 8 year old will save them? Disappear after 20 minutes in. Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton getting hurt and recovering? Eh? Escaping an FBI detention center? Just cut to the next scene that'll fix it. Kirsten Dunst cut her hair? That's why she's ok now?
The worst is that this felt like a template for a film that never showed up. All the beats came and went. Then the credits came. I went.