Starring: Michael Shannon, Jaeden Leiberher, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst
Director: Jeff Nichols
Jeff Nichols has made a name for himself as a very emotive and intelligent director, with films like Mud and Take Shelter. Here he earns more stripes as a man to watch, teaming up again with Michael Shannon to bring you a subtle sci fi about a family in trouble.
I don’t want to give too much away, it’s one of those films that it’s best to just watch and allow it to unfold and twist. The film is about a child whose father rescues him from the religious cult who believes that he is a prophet with powers to save them from an oncoming apocalypse. Whilst the leaders of the cult desperately want him back, they themselves are being investigated by the government.
Michael Shannon once again brings something heartfelt and a quality that feels “other” and dangerous to his role as the childs’ father. His relationship with his child is quite beautiful and touching. He loves him and will go to any lengths to protect him, but also doesn’t entirely understand the child. Jaeden Leiberher plays Alton, the boy, and is a very natural performer, one to watch out for in future. Kirsten Dunst is really good as the childs mother, but isn’t given enough to do as she simply looks to her husband for decision making and leadership. I think perhaps this is understandable as a woman who was raised in a religion that told her to obey her husband and never taught her to think for herself, but she was obviously a strong enough character to leave the cult, which is no small psychological feat, really. Finally, Joel Edgerton as a cop called on by a childhood friend, Alton’s father, to help him with the rescue is a strong, quiet but explosive presence, and our entry as an outsider into Alton’s world.
It’s an excellent film, with solid characters, good visuals and enough going on to keep you guessing. I think you’ll like it.
See It If: fans of Shannon or Nichols will be very pleased, and it’s a good thriller/sci fi too. Definitely recommended.