George Clooney has the dual role of leading actor and director of the science fiction epic. The midnight sky. Based on the novel by Lily Brooks-Dalton, the film follows a terminally ill scientist and a returning spaceship after an apocalyptic event on Earth. The midnight sky has impressive production values but is not convincing despite serious dramatic efforts. The plot is predictable with several obvious twists and turns. The cast of the star ensemble has also been bogged down due to speed problems. The result is a good-looking film that aims high, but doesn’t achieve the severity desired.
The midnight sky begins with a frenzied evacuation at an arctic research station. While scientists seek to escape an unnamed disaster, Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney) refuses to leave. He monitors humanity’s dwindling radio signals as survivors try to hide from impending doom. Augustine’s lonely schedule of medical treatments and nausea is interrupted by a shocking surprise. He finds a young girl, Iris (Caoilinn Springall), who has been accidentally left behind.
Meanwhile, after a successful mission near Jupiter, ether is on its way to Earth in space. The astronauts have confirmed that a newly discovered moon is indeed habitable. Commander Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo) and his navigator Sully (Felicity Jones) could not contact anyone on Earth. The crew (Demián Bichir, Tiffany Boone, and Kyle Chandler) are eager to return home after their long mission. In the Arctic, Augustine and his new companion try desperately to warn the ship.
The midnight sky tries to artfully address intoxicating topics. It’s a good effort, but unsuccessful overall. George Clooney wants to contrast the self-destruction of humanity on the macro and micro level. Every character has to face the terrible realization that everything they loved is gone. But also embrace the Aether and Jupiter moons as the only viable survival strategy for our species. This ambitious agenda only works when the right moments have depth. The midnight sky spends too much time spreading the wealth. If each instance is grave, the impact of those scenes diminishes as the story progresses. Unfortunately, the film is getting boring in this regard.
The technical aspects are first class. George Clooney’s experience he’s working on Heaviness can be clearly seen in the breathtaking space cinema. The level of detail is really remarkable. From cool looking lens flares to no-gravity blasts of blood, you can see where the big budget money is being spent. The problem is, the eye candy doesn’t save the narrative. This is a fatal mistake that cannot be ignored. The midnight sky loses interest despite the good work behind the camera.
My last point concerns the easily recognizable climax. The midnight sky builds into an important reveal. Anyone paying attention will smell it halfway. That is disappointing and undercuts the entertainment value of the film. Clooney and his cast are clearly doing their best, but unfortunately it is not recommended enough. The midnight sky is produced by Anonymous Content, Smokehouse Pictures and Truenorth Productions. The film will have a limited theatrical release before it premieres worldwide on Netflix on December 23rd.
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