The Midnight Sky
By James Davidson
“The Midnight Sky” is a new Sci-Fi drama that debuted on Netflix on December 23rd, 2020 starring George Clooney. Clooney plays Augustine, a lonely scientist in the post-apocalyptic Arctic. Augustine is attempting to reach a spaceship that has been on a two year mission to keep them from coming home to an earth that has been destroyed by radiation. Augustine seems to be the only human left on earth until he discovers a young girl, Iris, who has been left behind by colonists as they attempt to flee the irradiated earth to a safer place.
The premise of this film sounds interesting, although its a story that I’ve seen told a few times in Science Fiction. I thought that with Clooney not only acting but directing this film that it might be a fresh take on a classic Sci-Fi trope. Unfortunately this movie falls right in the middle of all the other similar stories.
I found the most frustrating thing about this movie was that it didn’t explain a lot of things. The movie never explains what happened to earth, only that an “event” happened and now the earth’s atmosphere is becoming unlivable. It also never explained where the other colonists that were with Augustine at the beginning of the movie went. They just left without much explanation, leaving Augustine to presumably contact the one ship that went to find another home world for the surviving humans. I would have liked the movie to explain itself a little bit more clearly as I felt it left too many questions for me.
Another issue that I had was the writing. There were quite a few flashbacks that were confusing and didn’t advance the story much, and this film needed something to advance the story. The film is extremely slow paced and very dry in places. There aren’t a lot of characters so a good bit of the movie is just watching Augustine look at computer screens or reminisce in a flashback.
The one redeeming quality of the film is Clooney’s acting. While he doesn’t have a lot of other characters to interact with, Clooney does an impeccable acting job playing a grouchy old scientist who is living out his last days in solitude. Felicity Jones, who plays Sully, a crew member of the spaceship that Augustine is trying to contact, does a fantastic job acting as well. In fact, all of the actors, although there weren’t many of them, did quite well and were very impressive in their roles.
This movie is rated PG-13 for some bloody images and brief, strong language. This movie probably wouldn’t be appropriate for younger viewers and will struggle to keep the attention of most teenagers. While it is slow and slightly confusing, it has a few redeeming qualities and a surprise twist at the end that makes this a decent date night movie.
“The Midnight Sky” is a mediocre film that struggles to set itself apart from a plethora of stories with the same premise. While it has some incredible acting and an intriguing plot, it trudges along at a snail’s pace and doesn’t explain itself well. It does have a surprise at the end that makes it worth at least one watch and is a decent date night film. It earns 3 out of 5 stars.