Filmmaker Jeff Nichols work has quickly intrigued our notion of middle America or southern roots showcased on the big screen. In his 4 films he's inspired a new view of regular family life amongst tough testing times. Midnight Special is Nichols breakthrough film that has the potential to put Jeff more into the mainstream light. Click through for our full review of this early gem of a 2016 film and a special sit down interview with Jeff Nichols about his career, Midnight Special and about his upcoming 5th feature LOVING.
Jeff Nichols first four films all share a few things in common.
1. Southern Roots:
Nichols work utilizes stories set in and around areas he knows well. Working with his DP Adam Stone they've rejuvenated the southern landscape with films like TAKE SHELTER, MUD, and now MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. There is a wonderful element of this being a major production company, Warner Bros, having a film that is set in San Angelo. Another layer to the feel of the film is David Wingo's musical score which highlights the landscape, but brings to life the over-the-top twist to the film. As you'll here in the interview with Jeff, David's final song that deals with the climax elements of the film is an extremely captivating piece of music.
2. Casting Choices.
The real gem element of all of Jeff's films has been the acting talent found. Amazing Michael Shannon has been the one tie in for all of Jeff's movies and the talented actor delivers a stoic relentless character in Midnight Special. Jaedan Lieberher is the latest child actor found by Nichols casting team. The young actor has put in a mysterious and uplifting performance. The best part of a Nichols film is the mixture of big name folks and veteran character actors. Jeff has worked with great female leads like Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon and now Kirsten Dunst. He's also got two unique and strong performances from two busy actors, Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver. And there are the regulars like Paul Sparks, Sam Shepard and character actors like Bill Camp and David Jensen that add so much flavor to the film.
Jeff Nichols makes films about families. Different, unique and real are all elements seen in SHOTGUN STORIES, TAKE SHELTER, MUD and now MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. Fathers and Sons. Mothers and Sons. And father-like figures bleed through all of Jeff's scripts. But this movie has a fun added twist. The scope and size of the film aren't just bigger, but the message seems more open to all people. The dynamics of what and why families make the choices they do really is captured in all of Nichols work. Midnight Special elevates the circumstances and impact of this particular family's choice.
Here is our interview with Jeff Nichols. *It does contain a spoiler around the 7:30 min mark.