Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Midnight Sky - Movie Review

The Movie: The Midnight Sky

The Director: George Clooney

The Cast: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Caoilinn Springall, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, Tiffany Boone, Sophie Rundle, Tim Russ

The Story: This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

The Review:
When I sat down to watch this movie, I didn't know much about it other than George Clooney is in it and there's some element of space travel. If Clooney is involved, there's a good chance the movie is going to be worth watching so that was enough for me to have a fair amount of anticipation and I was definitely pleased with the results. One of the highlights for me is the cast that, along with Clooney himself, includes David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir, and Felicity Jones creating a powerhouse lineup and a very interesting cast of character to follow.

Felicity Jones is always a pleasure to watch and she is one of the more versatile actors working today with some great work on her resume including Rogue One and The Theory of Everything. She does a great job leading the ensemble half of the movie alongside Oyelowo, Chandler, Bichir, and Tiffany Boone. The group work together as part of a space exploration expedition that is unaware of the dangers that are being faced back home. There are a lot of surface level similarities to Christopher Nolan's Interstellar although I'm not sure if any comparisons are really fair or valid.

Nolan takes a much bigger and bolder approach to his film with some really grand and grandiose ideas at play whereas Clooney's film, which is based on the book Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton, is much more of a human drama than a large scale space epic. For me, that right there is the key to why I really enjoyed this movie. While there are cinematic elements of science fiction, the focus is really on the characters, their interactions, their stories, and their ultimate mortality in the face of what is essentially a literal global meltdown.

The one thing missing from this movie is a couple of knock down emotional punches that would really drive home the ideas that are brought up over the course of the film. There are a few reveals at the end of the film where everything comes to its inevitable conclusion, but not of it really hits like I was wanting it to. Not sure if that's due to the source material or Clooney's direction but the end of the movie is basically just like okay there's the story, thanks for coming, and have a good night whereas I was wanting the type of emotional impact that might leave me thinking about it for some time.

The Verdict:
The Midnight Sky is good in just about every way although falls just short of greatness with a story that doesn't provide the emotional impact I was hoping for. I would still call it yet another success for Clooney and everyone in the cast.

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