A slow-burning space journey
George Clooney steps back into the director's chair for another science fiction themed film in Netflix's The Midnight Sky. An adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton's acclaimed novel Good Morning, Midnight, the film version follows Augustine (George Clooney). A terminally ill & lonely scientist who stayed back in a remote base to complete a top-secret mission after a mysterious global catastrophe devastates the human race. Initially, the scientist thinks he's alone until one day, a mysterious young girl, Iris (Caoilinn Springall), appears.
Meanwhile, deep in the throes of space, Commander Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo) and his second in command Sully (Felicity Jones) are currently returning from Jupiter after discovering a habitable moon, K-23. Onboard, the crew is entirely unaware of the events happening on Earth. With time running out, Augustine sets out to warn the deep-space astronauts of the dangers of returning home.
George Clooney hasn't made an appearance on screen since 2016's Money Monster, so I welcomed his return to acting. Concurrently I was hoping he would return to his directing promise after his last effort, 2017's Suburbicon, was ill-received. From the moment the film begins, it appears that Clooney & screenwriter Mark L. Smith want to recreate the vibe of 2002's Solaris, where Steven Soderbergh directed Clooney. So if you're expecting some stimulating effects filled spectacle, prepare for disappointment. However, if you are looking for a Science Fiction film exploring the human condition, you may be impressed by the film.
George Clooney has always been able to command the screen whenever he's in a scene, and I felt that with The Midnight Sky, he was overly passionate about the film. That's not a bad thing, as the scenes that Clooney shares with Iris (Caoilinn Springall) are acceptable. Concurrently, the film scenes that take place in space are also well done. I'm a fan of David Oyelowo, so it was great to see him in charge of a spaceship, while Felicity Jones, Kyle Chandler, and Demián Bichir all provide solid supporting work as members of the crew.
My favorite supporting cast member of the crew was Tiffany Boone, who portrays Maya, the flight engineer. Boone brings a much-needed rookie emotion to the role, and I wish her character had more scenes. For the most part, I did found The Midnight Sky enjoyable. However, I must point out the film is a slow burn, and the pacing may throw off some viewers. While I won't thoroughly recommend The Midnight Sky to mainstream moviegoers, fans of space dramas may enjoy it.
Final Grade C
The Midnight Sky is showing in limited theaters now.
It will be available for viewing on Netflix on 23 December 2020 at www.netflix.com/themidnightsky