The Midnight Sky (2020) - 4/10
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
I like Clooney and I love a good post apocalyptic story. Is this a good story though? Clooney is Directing here as well as starting as the lead, Augustine. As a Director Clooney has been a bit hit and miss, but mostly miss and this sadly is one of the latter. Augustine lives alone in an arctic base, 30 years from now. He’s terminally ill, but quite frankly George has embraced his ageing very well and struggles to pull off terminally ill. He’s one of last humans left on earth, monitoring things as the atmosphere grows toxic, whist getting drunk and trying to treat his illness. He’s in a bleak place. The only other humans that aren’t on their way out due to radiation poisoning are floating out in space. Humanity knew we were running out of time on earth and have been looking for other options, but only one vessel remains, the Aether and they’re not aware that their home has fallen apart as quickly as it has. Production wise it’s a bit too clean. Like a Star Trek episode, a bit soulless. It doesn’t feel lived in. Especially the scenes on board the Aether, who’s crew are supplemented by projected archive video to keep them sane and a dizzying array of FX. It’s not a small budget production. There’s a spacewalk scene in particular that’s laughably bad. They don’t feel like they’re out in space, the view looks like a desktop screensaver and everything’s washed in annoying lens flares. There’s zero jeopardy, it’s dull as fuck. Then they start playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ and sing along. I’m just praying for a big meteor to come along, take them all out and put me out of my misery. We get lots of wistful looks from Augustine as he watches the world around him die. Lots of soul searching. Lots of sentimental piano and strings. Seriously the music department need to have a strong word with themselves. It’s generally all a bit muddled. They’ve tried to give a simple sci-fi story more weight than it can carry and flash back scenes only serve to bloat it further. It’s not without it’s suspenseful moments. I don’t say this often, but I wish they’d gone heavier on the action. The moments when the pulse is raised, only highlights the flatlining elsewhere. We get lots of pointless subplots, distractions and it just can’t hold itself together. It’s based on a book, I imagine it works better on the page. It feels like there’s a decent story buried in there, but this masks it in thick layers of unbelievable sentimental nonsense. Clooney does his job well enough, but the rest of the cast struggle, even David Oyelowo who usually delivers. Generally it’s disappointing and lacks the dramatic tone it sorely needs. George’s beard looks good though.