THE MIDNIGHT SKY (2020) Reviews of George Clooney’s sci-fi drama

   

‘There’s a universe between all of us.’

The Midnight Sky is a 2020 post-apocalyptic drama feature film about a scientist trying to stop some astronauts returning to devasted Earth.

Directed by George Clooney (director of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck, Leatherheads, The Ides of March, Suburbicon) from a screenplay written by Mark L. Smith, adapted from Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel Good Morning, Midnight, the movie stars Clooney, plus Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Sophie Rundle, Ethan Peck, Miriam Shor and Tiffany Boone. Produced by Grant Heslov, George Clooney, Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros and Cliff Roberts.

Plot:

Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney) is a lonely scientist living in Antarctica who believes himself to be the last man alive on Earth until he finds a child named Iris (Caoilinn Springall) whom he feels obliged to care for.

Meanwhile, he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones) and her fellow astronauts from returning home from a mission to Jupiter to a mysterious global catastrophe.

“It’s science fiction, which unfortunately is less fictional as we move through the days,” Clooney told  Vanity Fair. “The sickness of hate and the elements that come from that, battles and wars — that has been percolating for quite some time.” He added: “I wanted it to be about redemption in a way. I wanted there to be some hopefulness in a fairly bleak story about the end of mankind.”

Review:

“The match between Clooney and Peck is right on the money, and, thanks to sophisticated technology, the pair actually share the vocal performance as their own voices are melded together flawlessly. Clooney has been careful not to rush any of the action, which makes for a deliberately paced adventure but one well worth the effort put in to watch it. It is exceptional.” Deadline

“Even with its faults, The Midnight Sky ends up being quite affecting. Perhaps it’s the state of the world we’re living in right now, but the film’s ultimate message–that human life and relationships are worth preserving no matter what–is a touching and timely one. Combine that with the movie’s memorable visuals and production esthetic, and Clooney has come up with a commendable first attempt at an often difficult genre to master.” Den of Geek

The Midnight Sky is a big swing from Clooney. Just as Suburbicon took on racism and The Ides of March had things to say about the American political process, this is a strong note of caution as to what the near future could look like if the environment is allowed to fester. Its disparate threads may not all quite tie together — and a big reveal near the end won’t be easily swallowed by everyone — but it’s still a moving tale, by turns muscular and poetic.” Empire

“Whether you find the surprise satisfying or not, The Midnight Sky is still a disappointment given that some outstanding CGI and practical special effects (the spaceship designs almost look like satellites with rotating attachments, making for something unique and dazzling to look at), beautiful music from Alexandre Desplat, and George Clooney in front of and behind the camera all went to this lackluster trophy sci-fi effort.” Flickering Myth

“We’ve never been closer to the end of the world which, in itself, should have done a lot of the heavy lifting. And yet, this just ends up feeling vacant. Too caught up in genre tropes to be surprising. Too painfully paced to be exciting. And so disconnected that it ends up saying nothing at all.” Goggler

The Midnight Sky works well as an epic in intimate, but frequently gets off-track when stuffing more details into a busy narrative that seems just as eager to shrug them off, right down to an inane third-act twist that upends everything leading up to it. Nevertheless, with its soulful Alexandre Desplat score and Martin Ruhe’s lyrical cinematography as its guide, the movie unleashes a mostly welcome stream of sci-fi pastiche.” IndieWire

“As a basic setup, The Midnight Sky has the makings of a great episode of some Outer Limits-esque sci-fi anthology series, but it struggles to pad out its two-hour running time. The story is too reliant on the old cliché of the scientist who becomes so obsessed with his work that he neglects his family, and the flashbacks that spell this out are so crudely written and performed that you’d be forgiven for thinking Clooney had edited scenes from a daytime soap opera into his film.” The Movie Waffler

“In a sense, The Midnight Sky is trying to be too many things: a sweeping epic, an introspective drama, an action-adventure. So while it is reasonably good at all of those things, it also leaves each of them lacking, as we constantly have to shift how we absorb the information […] This is not to say that The Midnight Sky doesn’t work, or doesn’t achieve its aims. You can’t help but be in awe at both the landscapes in which we are immersed…” Screen Anarchy

Release:

Netflix will debut The Midnight Sky theatrically in select locations in December, then stream the film from December 23rd 2020.

Trailer: