MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (2016)
Not a fan. Omniscient perspective but highly limiting the amount of info given to the audience. How long can you watch a situation unfold and wonder what’s happening? It turns from mysterious to annoying to boring – frustrating viewing.
I suppose there’s a rational to let viewers “observe” a story as it unfolds with no handholding but I think it’s weaker storytelling. It’s hard to empathize with characters and understand the importance of certain moments without context. It’s find to keep the situation and world building unexplained and mysterious for the first 10-15 but then help us get on board with the characters and their mission. We can’t if we’re asking “what the fuck is going on.”
The worst part of the limited explanation in MIDNIGHT EXPRESS is that when the pieces come together they’re not in some masterful way – it’s just, like, ok he’s an alien and I guess this is all a metaphor for letting your kids grow up and move on?
There was a lot of promise initially with the cult and FBI and the parents and Alton, but it doesn’t really pay off.
You realize Alton can listen to invisible waveforms which eventually leads to him going home to live with his invisible type residents.
It’s an interesting idea – the same way there’s light waves or sound waves we can’t see there could be people or beings living amongst us we don’t see. But if that was the goal the execution could have been better than a boy and his father on the run trying to get to some set of coordinates.
Why or how they needed to get to that location was never fully revealed so the duration of the film you’re watching them rather than feeling like you’re with them.
Adam Driver is always a great watch. The main character (the Dad) is good but a little dense and not emotive enough for my taste – especially when the story isn’t explicit. A subtle actor coupled with an under-told story leaves you with a bunch of moments of “Huh I wonder what he’s feeling right now.” Kirsten Dunst was also a surprise to see – and I thought distracting.
My favorite moment was when they were stuck in traffic and roll up to the empty pick up – signaling that Alton was captured.
I would have been interested in another telling that focuses on the dad’s friend who’s the state trooper and has only been with Alton for 3 days – tell the story from his perspective and let us take that ride.
The omniscient perspective does little if you’re simply using it to build unsatisfied mystery. Furthermore, it’s annoying and I find disrespectful to the watcher. Impress us with story, not by making us figure out what is a very simple story for ourselves. It’s putting the form before the story.
Also had some beef with the set decoration and style – did this take place in the 90s? There were pay phones and no cell phones. Why did it take place then?
Felt like one of those times when too clever came off as not clever at all.