Author Topic: Midnight Special  (Read 6744 times)

verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2016, 04:16:05 AM »
Quote
That feels wrong to me.

Can we explore that. Its the story's structure. She adds balance to an existing dynamic, just like mums do.

Oh well I really need to see it again now. How was the phenomenon sidestepped at the end?
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Jeff Schroeck

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2016, 04:24:28 AM »
I also feel that having both parents helps retain the mystery of why he has those powers by keeping him more "normal". It would've been easy to see a broken home and think that his powers were a manifestation of psychic trauma.

Teproc

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2016, 04:40:41 AM »
Quote
That feels wrong to me.

Can we explore that. Its the story's structure. She adds balance to an existing dynamic, just like mums do.

Oh well I really need to see it again now. How was the phenomenon sidestepped at the end?

You've seen it more recently than I have, but IIRC, the guy who interrogates Shannon at the end seems to be doubting than anything weird really happened, and when Driver comes in, isn't the implication that he is keeping the whole thing a secret ? Maybe I misunderstood that scene.

I also feel that having both parents helps retain the mystery of why he has those powers by keeping him more "normal". It would've been easy to see a broken home and think that his powers were a manifestation of psychic trauma.

That's fine, but then I don't like how little interest the film has in her point of view. She doesn't feel like a fully-fledged character, it's like she's the mom because the kid has to have a mom right ? So there she is.

Besides... there's plenty of trauma anyway : he seems to have been separated from her early on, and then from his father... not to mention apparently being exploited by a cult. His childhood environment is clearly not "normal" in any way.
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verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2016, 04:57:04 AM »
I'm gonna watch it again and I'll pay attention to that point T.

I gonna say I'll be grooving on the movie so hard, I may feel no pain at that point.
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Jeff Schroeck

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2016, 05:30:53 AM »
Besides... there's plenty of trauma anyway : he seems to have been separated from her early on, and then from his father... not to mention apparently being exploited by a cult. His childhood environment is clearly not "normal" in any way.

But he has the powers before all of that - it's the reason the cult takes him. I'm just suggesting that if he only had the dad it might be easier to guess that it was a part of why he's like that, assuming they didn't tell you when they split up. This isn't a solid theory, more of a 5:30 am thought.

I agree her character gets the least to do until the end, but I don't think of her as an afterthought.

Teproc

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2016, 05:49:09 AM »
Besides... there's plenty of trauma anyway : he seems to have been separated from her early on, and then from his father... not to mention apparently being exploited by a cult. His childhood environment is clearly not "normal" in any way.

But he has the powers before all of that - it's the reason the cult takes him. I'm just suggesting that if he only had the dad it might be easier to guess that it was a part of why he's like that, assuming they didn't tell you when they split up. This isn't a solid theory, more of a 5:30 am thought.

Ah, I see what you mean.
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verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2016, 08:49:24 AM »
When Paul reappears at the end, its to interview Lucas. Paul acts like he doesn't know Lucas,so as not to implicate him further (in his handcuffing). That's about it. Lucas has already told the guys interrogating him that they saw what he saw. They probably just don't believe he doesn't know more about it.

I think Nichols has plotted this film as tightly as Hitchcock ever did. I don't recall Hitch having much regard for family drama.

One suspense sequence as they try to catch up to the two Ranch guys after they take Alton. One glitch where the military fella doesn't notice both Roy and Lucas have been shot!! From 5 feet away through clear glass. Ummm. The rest are surprises.

A film of concision.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 08:53:17 AM by verbALs »
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verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2016, 11:58:46 PM »
I feel like this film squirts information at you in tiny bursts. It is naturally disorienting. For instance Roy is seen raising a gun at a guy because he knows where they are going and they can't be followed. We don't see what happens. Then the two Ranch guys end up talking to the guy who Roy should have shot. We know Roy was struggling to do it but not whether he pulled the trigger. There's a disconnect between the two incidents. I picked it up the second time. It has power knowing Roy couldn't do it and more power that his "mistake" ends up with being shot himself.

My point is this film needs a spoiler thread! Welcoming any and all "What the hell happened there" comments!

I wonder what Nolan devotees will make of the minimalism! HE DIDNT EXPLAIN IT!

Operating as a chase movie that idea of being thrown into the middle of things and getting through by the skin of your teeth. Just surviving. Till when? Only till Friday.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 12:01:59 AM by verbALs »
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alexanderthegreat

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2016, 01:30:25 AM »
I'm a big fan of Nichols' previous work, so I had high expectations for this movie and I have to say that I was very disappointed.

Teproc, I agree with you about Dunst's character. What does she add to the narrative? And I would actually add Edgerton's character to this point. What does he add to the narrative? What do either of these characters actually DO that changes the course of the story? If this was a character study, I might agree that "having both parents helps retain the mystery of why he has those powers by keeping him more 'normal'" or "Dunst realises way before Shannon what is going to happen and she explains it to him" could justify the runtime Dunst is given, but this a plot driven chase film, trying to sustain forward momentum. To me, on a very basic level, Dunst and Edgerton should be adding something to drive the plot forward. I would go as far to say that Shannon, Dunst, and Edgerton could, instead of being three partially explored characters, be combined into one full character and a scriptwriter would have no major narrative issues to solve and the movie may even be better for it.

My biggest problem with the movie is the way it progressively destroys any and all stakes that the movie has set up the further we get into the movie.

- The movie opens with this lovely tension between Edgerton and Shannon. Edgerton is conflicted. Shannon is devote. This could provide a nice dynamic. Nope, Edgerton sees Alton's magic powers and neutralizes this conflict.

- Alton can't go into the sunlight. This puts some interesting constraints on our most important character and gives him a weakness. And now he's getting sick from using his powers. What do we do? Just go out into the sun. Two birds with one stone. Both points of vulnerability are gone. No more weakness. Except...

- The government and that cult! They're after Alton. If he get's captured, that's the worst thing that could happen! So that happens. And I think, "Great! This movie's about to get real." Except what happens? The government takes out the cult guys, so they're no longer a threat. But that's okay, Adam Driver's on the job. Y'know, the guy that the movie has established as our hero's smartest enemy. Mono y mono. This is gonna be good... And it is good. That's a cool scene. But then I realize that the movie just neutralized our hero's two biggest threats. And what did they DO to overcome those threats? Alton used magic powers and Shannon, Edgerton, and Dunst just went to a parking lot and felt sad. Then we're back to status quo. The only thing that has changed is that the stakes just dropped considerably. The trajectory of the plot is exactly the same.
 
At this point I've lost interest. The movie has been all but resolved and all major opposing forces have been dealt with... Except the government! There's a roadblock! How are they gonna-- oh... they just drove through it. Then they're driving remarkably well on destroyed tires. Actually, this is a nice metaphor for the whole movie. Roadblock after roadblock directly driven through with incredible ease until the narrative is driving on flat tires. The flat tires are the stakes in this metaphor.

Please tell me where I'm wrong or misguided. Where were the stakes for those of you that enjoyed this movie? I don't like being so negative about a movie with so much obvious talent and potential. I don't think it was that bad of a movie. I was just very disappointed.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 01:36:04 AM by alexanderthegreat »

verbALs

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Re: Midnight Special
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2016, 03:04:17 AM »
Lucas never would shoot another cop without that belief. Whether he has a gun pulled on him or not. He surrenders unless he believes. He exhibits that belief by shooting a fellow cop. That's really early in the film.

I think the point when Alton goes out in the sun is really interesting. Clearly his parents were protecting him from exhibitions of his power that the sun was triggering. Their protection allows Alton to grow to that point but also Alton is ready to grow further and the parents may be overprotective and getting in the way of the child's progress. A typical problem for parents written large. Alton understands but Roy is frightened by the idea as a father. Yet as a believer he takes Altons word that he can handle going into the sun. And Alton grows as a result. The job of a parent to protect but also produce grown ups of their children.

Wow. Shannon nearly walked out into traffic. In front of a very large vehicle. He didn't just look sad.

Once Alton has his powers under control (call it a puberty analogy) the movie really does change. Alton is in control. He can't drive though. That's about all he needs past that point. He has people drive him around. The end. The films a lot more exciting in how it depicts it of course.

I'm really curious as to what Alton shows people. Roy says that when Alton's powers truly manifest themselves at sunrise, he sees the other dimensions buildings, so Alton wasn't showing people that. If he did, that would explain the entire Ranch turned into a cult because they would interpret that as heaven that they were being shown, quite easily. Hence the level of belief. I wonder.

Another curious thought: At the beginning of the film, aren't you wondering "where's the mother?"
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 03:38:59 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy