The Midnight Sky
Throughout his star-studded career, two-time Oscar-winner George Clooney has consistently demonstrated that he’s an incredible actor, but a mediocre director. This reputation once again holds true with his latest project, The Midnight Sky, which he both helms and stars in.
Based on Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel Good Morning, Midnight, the film adaptation (penned by Mark L Smith) takes viewers to the year 2049. An unknown catastrophe known as The Event (they really call it that) has made Earth uninhabitable and wiped out most of humanity. Clooney stars as Augustine, a lone arctic astronomer who – along with a mute girl, Iris, (Caoilinn Springall) he finds in the now-abandoned research base where he works – sets out on a dangerous mission across the snow. The protagonist’s objective is to acquire an antenna so that he can re-establish contact with a group of astronauts on their way home from an unsuccessful mission.
On paper, it sounds like there’s a lot to unpack in this Netflix Original. However, underneath all the shiny visuals and lip service to concepts that other modern sci-fi epics have handled with more finesse, this flick is remarkably shallow in its execution. It tries to squeeze far too much into its two-hour runtime. One plotline follows Augustine and his troubled past as he forms a father-daughter relationship with the silent Iris. Meanwhile, the other sees a group of astronauts overcoming an intergalactic obstacle course to return home. Except for charming scenes where the astronomer and the girl play with their food and the crew sings a joyous rendition of Sweet Caroline, the audience doesn’t get a chance to get to know any of these figures on screen.
Instead of meaningful character-building, the narrative is structured around short moments of inconsequential action that’s over before any stakes can be set. Whether that be falling into icy waters or being caught in a meteor storm, these sequences bring absolutely nothing to the table.
In fact, The Midnight Sky would have benefited greatly if Augustine’s plotline was cut completely. This way spectators would be able to bond with the astronauts, effectively giving more purpose to their journey back to a home that no longer exists.
The Midnight Sky is released digitally on demand on 23rd December 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Midnight Sky here: