Director George Clooney made two half films and pushed them together The midnight sky, a beautiful and gripping science fiction drama thriller that unfortunately never comes together in the end.
Clooney also plays Augustine, a dying Arctic scientist who watches desperately as the Earth’s population falls victim to a global catastrophe. Alone and in isolation, he tries to contact a spaceship on its way back from Mars to prevent it from returning to Earth, which would end any hope for the future of humanity.
The midnight sky is in part a drama about a grumpy old man wandering the Arctic trying to escape the deadly air that kills everything it touches. Clooney plays a solid role, but it comes at the cost of the wit and charisma that audiences generally value about the actor. Clooney, the director, can also demonstrate his eye for size and size, which was typically and intentionally lacking in his previous endeavors.
The midnight sky is also a space thriller in which a crew of astronauts (played by Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Damian Bichir and Tiffany Boone) attempt to return to Earth as they face various threats, mostly in the form of meteors. In these scenes, the film pulsates with life, partly due to the chemistry between the talented cast and the more action-oriented sequences that occur.
Both storylines work well on their own, even if both have their flawed elements (the space stuff feels like it) Heaviness-meets-The Martian, but not as exciting or scientifically plausible as either, while the earthbound sequences are tarnished by cheesy obstacles and challenges that give Clooney’s character something to do). When combined, however, they feel so different, so incoherent and have so little influence on each other that they just don’t work as a single film.
In all honesty, Clooney could have cut his own scenes entirely and had a solid space thriller up his sleeve; or he could have focused things on himself and given humanity a dark but expressive farewell.
But together the two parts are less than a whole.
The midnight sky is a relatively entertaining and seductive science fiction story, but Clooney’s failure to make the right connections between the two stories hardly makes it a must see.
Rating by Erik Samdahl, unless otherwise stated.