by Tony Medley
Runtime 112 minutes.
OK for children.
Even for science
fiction, this is a strange one. But it starts with a bang and continues
building tension until the end. Writer/director Jeff Nichols has a
terrific cast, including the rapidly rising star Joel Edgerton and the
child Jaeden Lieberher (St. Vincent), upon which the entire movie
Starting with the
opening titles, we are thrust into a tense situation as 8-year-old Alton
Meyer (Lieberher) is apparently kidnapped from a cult called the Third
Heaven Ranch (headed by Calvin Meyer played by Sam Shephard) by Roy
Tomlin (Michael Shannon), who turns out to be Altonís father. Roy is
aided by Lucas (Edgerton).
Alton has weird
powers. He goes into trances, his eyes emit light rays that are
blinding, and he can mentally access government secrets. Roy and his
wife, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst) realize that their son is special but they
donít have a clue why (and neither does the audience).
Also pursuing Alton
is the FBI, aided by a National Security Agency investigator, Sevier
(Adam Driver), who seems to understand a lot better than anyone else in
The sci-fi part of
the film is puzzling and the chase part is exciting and tense, and
thatís most of the movie. Of course everyone wonders whatís going on and
why the cult and the FBI are after Alton.
The ending would
appeal to Alain Resnais, who directed the puzzling Last Year at
Marienbad (1961). But what do you do with a sci-fi movie? Oh well,
itís finely directed and acted, and itís entertaining so thatís all that