ALL ABOARD site, new blog. I’ve never written anything like this before, so it’s all new and this is all train of thought and I fancy a jam sandwich...

Train of thought...probably a bad idea. But still, here we go--

If you’ve not seen it, check out Jeff Nichols’ MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. It’s something very, very special. He hit my radar when I watched the sensational TAKE SHELTER. Michael Shannon was just powerhouse in that and the film introduced me to him as an actor and also Jessica Chastain, who was equally excellent.

TAKE SHELTER was something seemingly rare - an original concept produced amongst the franchises and reboots etc etc, but it was excellent in that the writing, the acting and the direction captured an incredible amount of emotion and the story was just something else and kept you guessing until the end. It’s my kind of storytelling too--real life infused with an element of the fantastical. 

I’d say that MIDNIGHT SPECIAL doesn’t quite do the same thing (I’m not sure it’s quite as accomplished in its originality as TAKE SHELTER), but in Nichols’ case, it’s the way he tells ‘em.

The story of a boy gifted with otherworldly abilities, it takes us on a journey that examines the relationship between a father and said boy and is the core of the film. With that, it doesn’t necessarily need an overly complicated plot; it’s a plot that’s been done in various guises before (which face it, isn’t something new e.g. UNDER SIEGE is DIE HARD on an aircraft carrier, but it was the way it was presented that set it apart--yes, it’s not as good as DIE HARD, but damn, it’s good fun), but it’s the EXECUTION that impresses.

Nichols is a director that nails it; nails that execution, nails the beats, gets the most out of his actors. It was something for me to take away - that overcomplicating things, making story complex for complex sake is pointless if the execution is off. That execution is key - how you tell it, the beats you hit, the characters you’ve got to play with and how they interact. I cared about every single  one of those people in that film because they’ve each got something to lose and something to live for. All of this combined makes for powerful storytelling.

I just broke wind. Shit. I need to rein this train of thought thing in. Next time...