It has only taken four feature films for Jeff Nichols – singled out in 2011 for the brilliant thriller Take Shelter – to prove that his pragmatic auteur films are one of the driving forces on the current American circuit. The filmmaker has been compared to Terrence Malick for his rigorous, slow, pictorial style, which tends to linger on places, refusing any form of overstatement.
To “shake up” his approach, the Texan recently stepped out of his comfort zone by making a first foray into science fiction with Midnight Special. Loving signals another change of style: this time he tackles a defining episode in America in the 1950s, drawing inspiration from a true story brought into the limelight in 2011 by Nancy Buirski’s documentary, The Loving Story.
Although the director has also returned to one of his favourite themes – the family – he has always, until now, explored it in the throes of meltdown.