J. R. Jones
Riffing on John Carpenter's Starman, writer-director Jeff Nichols has crafted a sci-fi chase film whose gravely naturalistic style adds to its sense of portent.
Nichols has earned the right to take big leaps. Even if he doesn't stick the landing, it's a thrill watching him try. He, too, is something special.
You watch helplessly as the movie goes off the rails, the suspense and excitement leaking out of the enormous tension the early scenes had generated.
It all sounds terribly murky, but few filmmakers are as gifted at making you want to peer through the murk.
What started with a gripping premise slackens and goes limp.
The movie has its flaws, but it is nonetheless an intriguing sci-fi entry and an engaging story about family.
It's refreshing to find yourself immersed in a film that zigs and zags between genres -- and occasionally zaps your senses with an electric charge of shock and awe.
How the film plays out, and what happens to the boy and the adults in his company, may prove a revelation, or a disappointment, or something in between. But getting there is thrilling and wondrously strange.
It's really just a "B" sci-fi film, with formula turns and gaping holes that rob it of greatness. But it's cladded in "A" materials: Nichols' assured direction, mood-setting cinematography and score and a cast fully invested ...