The Midnight Sky
UK Release: 11/12/2020
Directed by: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Caoilinn Springall, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo
If you’re looking for a film that’s joyful and uplifting, The Midnight Sky isn’t it.
But what it is, is an extraordinarily powerful sci-fi experience.
Scientist Augustine Lofthouse (played by George Clooney) is the last remainder of humanity – a dying man left behind after the evacuation of his research base.
Earth is all but destroyed after an unknown catastrophic event, and there’s no saving it. Radiation ravages the planet, and as it’s closing in, Augustine decides to take his chances – opting to spend his final moments trying to reach one of the numerous space missions still out there.
If that wasn’t grim enough, he soon realises a small girl has been left at the base, too.
Iris (played by Caoilinn Springall) won’t speak at first.
But the relationship that develops over the course of the film is nothing short of touching.
Clooney’s gruff but gentle scientist is clearly moved by the young girl, and it’s not long before they’re thick as thieves. And as they head out into the snow to repair a broken comm relay, it’s the kind of perilous adventure that has you on the edge of your seat.
But The Midnight Sky doesn’t let up. Not for a minute.
The stillness is almost claustrophobic as they trudge across the barren, icy wastelands.
There’s one shot in particular, as a snowstorm circles and envelops them, that almost broke me. The silence is deafening as the storm takes hold. The sheer desperation in Clooney’s performance is as breath-taking as it is horrific.
The Midnight Sky borders on becoming a fully-fledge sci-fi epic.
And as relationships develop on Earth as well as on the Aether interplanetary craft, it packs one hell of an emotional punch, too.
The crew, led by Commander Adewole (David Oyelowo) and his partner Sully (played by Felicity Jones) are relying in Augustine to get them home.
But with communication failures and radiation interference, their early interactions play out as a collection of snatched conversations and desperate fleeting moments.
The overwhelming desperation throughout the movie is almost unbearable.
But it’s also sublimely beautiful.
The notion of a dying man spending his final moments to save a group of strangers is already a devastatingly strong concept. But things ratchet up significantly in the second half.
Everything is at stake, and Clooney brings the goods with a hugely emotional performance.
Equally, the soundtrack is subtly devastating and puts in a lot of work in setting the tone.
Directed by Clooney himself, The Midnight Sky is a blend of The Martian, Interstellar, and Gravity… but it manages to hook you in emotionally even more than any of those.
It’s an impressive film all round with a tight plot and some incredible camera work. It just happens to be one of the most gruelling movies of the year, too. The Midnight Sky is such an emotional rollercoaster.
And while it may feel rather melancholy, there’s plenty of beauty in it, too.
The Midnight Sky comes to Netflix on 11 December 2020.