The Midnight Sky Movie Review: In George Clooney’s latest directorial, The Midnight Sky, he plays Dr Augustine Lofthouse, perhaps the last survivor on the surface of Planet Earth, after a cataclysmic event makes it unfit for human life. A scientist who once taught how K-23, a satellite of Jupiter, is hospitable for human life, Augustine is suffering from a terminal disease which discourages him from leaving his outpost in the Arctic Circle and join the rest of the survivors to live in underground bunkers on a temporary basis. The Midnight Sky Writer Reveals How George Clooney’s Sci-Fi Film ‘Felt So Similar’ to COVID-19 Crisis.
Augustine later discovers that he is not the only human on the station – there is a stowaway little girl (Caoilinn Springall) who is mute. He also finds out that there is one space mission that is still active and it is returning to Earth.
The said space mission, Ether, is returning from K-23 after finding that the conditions there match Lofthouse’s findings and is worth of rehabilitation. The ship is commandeered by Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo), along with his pregnant wife and astronaut Sully (Felicity Jones) and three other crew members (Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir, Tiffany Boone). While the space crew has to fly across meteor storms to reach Earth, Augustine has to do his best to prevent them from landing, while also figuring out how to rescue the little girl, whose name he finds out to be Iris.
Watch the Trailer:
The Midnight Sky, based on Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel Good Morning, Midnight, is a very sombre film in its mood. That said, it isn’t a film that strays away from hope, nor does it goes on lecturing us about what are we making of our planet. Partly a rescue thriller, partly a survival drama with some existential themes, The Midnight Sky occasionally reminds us of Clooney’s own Solaris in its tone and emotional beats.
The portions of Clooney coping with his disease and the fact that his last moments on Earth could help in giving humanity its last chance of survival are the best parts of the film. His interactions with Iris give the film its heart, and Clooney the actor gives a very heart-rending performance in the role. It also helps that The Midnight Sky is gorgeously shot, and the VFX portions are well-done. Another plus point for the movie is Alexandre Desplat’s wonderful music score, that gives the film a very moving feel throughout. OTT Releases Of The Week: George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky, Sara Ali Khan, Varun Dhawan’s Coolie No 1, Pankaj Tripathi’s Criminal Justice Season 2 and More.
Where The Midnight Sky doesn’t really land well is with the scenes involving Ether. The performances of the cast in there are really good, especially Jones and Oyelowo, but those sequences give a very deja vu feel – we have such situations in other movies in the past. The characters aren’t really well-etched enough for us to care for them more than Augustine, except for the fact that they might be the last hopes of humanity. Which causes a problem, because Clooney puts more focus on them than on his character and his sequences which are much better in comparison. Even if they are merely more or less Clooney looking gravely serious in his thick beard. The pacing is deliberately slow, which affects the film when the scenes don’t connect with you well.
Even the twist involving Iris is something that you can see from far away, but the emotional moment that it leads to give The Midnight Sky a poignant ending, which again has more to do with the performances of the actors involved.
Is The Midnight Sky one of Clooney’s misfires? Sure, it may not live upto the potential that the material and the cast enrich, but it isn’t a complete downer either. The Midnight Sky is one of Clooney’s most ambitious efforts, is very visually striking and has an amazing score. For every ordinary scene, there will be one sequence that raises the emotional quotient notches higher. Like that lovely scene where the crew of Ether singing along Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” while getting their ship repaired. It gives that sense of hope and cheer, even when we know that trouble is round the corner. The trouble is, the film needed more of those. We need more of those.
– The Visuals and The Score
– A Dull Middle Act
– Gives a Sense of Deja Vu
The Midnight Sky is gorgeously shot and beautifully scored, with Clooney giving a fine performance in the lead. However, Clooney the director doesn’t exactly do a better job at steering his ship on the right course, therefore finding it difficult to make the right landing. The Midnight Sky is streaming on Netflix.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Dec 23, 2020 06:23 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).