Phew – 2020 almost squeaked without a prestige astronaut movie. Thank George Clooney for completing the Zero-G-Peril-Zero Suit / Spacesuit quota with Midnight sky, a Netflix Oscar baiter based on the novel Hello midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. The Cloonster plays and directs, hoping to straighten out the slightly listed ship of his filmography behind the camera, which has been extremely patchy in recent years and marred by his most recent effort, the sloppy satire of 2017 Suburb. I guess such a comment won’t earn me a spot in his Million Dollar Buddies Club, so rest assured I’ll be honest with this review of his new sci-fi drama.
The essential: It’s 2049, “three weeks after the event” reads a cryptic caption. The atmosphere is poisoned by radiation, killing God knows how many people, but it has yet to reach Barbeau Observatory in the Arctic. Civilians board massive helicopters to get to a bunker, but scientist Augustine Lofthouse (Clooney) remains behind. He’s terminally ill, so why bother? He hammers whiskey, does his daily transfusion, vomits from one or the other or both, and has a staring gaze telling us he’s waiting to die. But before that happens, he must contact the Ether, a vessel that has passed through the solar system to K-23, a newly discovered moon orbiting Jupiter, to determine if it can support human life. . Augustine must tell them not to go home, because the planet is kaputskies. He also discovered the K-23. He also discovers something in the observatory kitchen: a little girl named Iris (Caoilinn Springall), left behind, hidden under a counter. She can’t, or just won’t, speak.
Meanwhile, in space, five astronauts shred like squirrels on a nut farm. K-23 is absolutely habitable, and if Sully’s (Felicity Jones) unsettling dream she is in HEYFrom behind you have to trust, it is a beautiful place with a beautiful orange sky, breathable air and fields of golden wheat. She is pregnant and the father is Commander Adewole (David Oyelowo). They are joined by Maya (Tiffany Boone), Sanchez (Demian Bechir) and Mitchell (Kyle Chandler). The mood is slightly attenuated by a lack of communication from Earth. It’s been weeks. It’s a head scratcher. They are not aware of it, blissfully, for now at least; indicates the sad cellos. Suddenly, they’re pushed out of their way and must take a different route through an uncharted area, and in this way, the plot can introduce spatial peril where it might not otherwise be.
Return to the Arctic. Barbeau’s antenna isn’t strong enough to reach the Aether, so maybe it’s time to take a strenuous trek through the tundra to a weather station with better gear. Plus, the radiation travels faster than expected, killing wildlife outside. Augustine packs Iris, her treatment gear, and necessary supplies onto a snowmobile, and sets himself and the girl – complete with the necessary oxygen masks – for the journey through raging blizzards that would whiten White Fang. Meanwhile, we have a few flashbacks to Augustine’s life a few decades ago, when whoever walked away, something that might contribute to her end-of-life melancholy, or perhaps relevant to the plot. . Will he be able to contact the astronauts and rock the airwaves with news from Armageddon? Hell to naw, naw spoilers, naw naw naw.
What movies will this remind you of? : Midnight sky is a conglomerate of two genres that have mostly peaked in recent years: the grim post-apocalyptic thriller and the space travel thriller. He looks like Ad Astra, Gravity, Two days later, Passengers, Blade Runner 2049, The road and – let me dig around here. Ah! – The Quiet Land. And the recent end of days saga Greenland, despite its lack of accolades, might actually be the best film.
Performances to watch: Clooney is excellent, of course, playing a haunted, dying man with a big salt and pepper Santa beard, a highlight. WALL-E-man just goes around in circles until he stops functioning, one way or another. Fortunately, he’s not struggling with fake conversation scenes to himself like Matt Damon in The Martian, which could also be a better movie.
Memorable dialogue: “I’m afraid we haven’t done a very good job looking after the place while you were away.” “- Augustine gently tells Sully that the Earth Goose is baked
Gender and skin: Nothing.
Our opinion : Midnight sky perfectly reverses the usual plot dynamic by depicting hellish things on Earth and making the emptiness of space emptiness a relatively beautiful safe place. Clooney stages tense and effective action sequences in every setting, one a fierce man-nature confrontation between Augustine and Thin Ice, the other an inevitable spacewalk threatened by d ‘inevitable unexpected space debris causing inevitable struggles with space carabiners. It also indulges in a few visually poetic moments and underlines the whole effort with subtle tones of tragedy and hope, probably wobbling a bit more towards the former.
Visually, the film culminates with the Space odyssey Aether wonder, which isn’t the gritty, oily claustrophobia craft of other films, but a place astronauts can cradle and nurture their sanity. They can feel more comfortable thanks to the 3D holograms of their friends and family, which seems like a way to make the experience of being gone for whatever long time even more painful, but it does. maybe just me. Guess that’s just a way of saying the movie looks right, convincingly priced.
That’s pretty cool stuff – thematically derived for sure, but visually and technically accomplished. It is writing that fails mightily. The script lands his feelings a little harsh on his nose; the casual score seems to fight against the gloom of history; the non-Clooney characters are slim and the girl, Iris, is like a porcelain doll, just a callous thing that needs to be protected. That’s not an unforgivable thing, considering Clooney the director’s ability to inspire a great performance from Clooney the actor, catching our attention. He has substance. But the end is baaaaaad, perhaps more than six “a” worth. Baaaaaaaaaad. The home stretch is a confused slopbucket of artifice, where the characters take advantage of conclusive moments that are not won at a distance; where nonsense prevails over pragmatism; where those silly flashbacks ultimately become terribly focused; where the revelations are meant to be deep but are filtered from the narrative clichés garbage drawer. The final blow is great, however, for what it’s worth.
Our call: TO JUMP. (Take a deep breath) Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Mixed feelings, because Midnight sky is a good so far entertaining film, reasonably thought out, pleasing to Clooney fans, a solid watch for aficionados of the genre. But this is a classic case of the downright army ending giving the rest of the movie. What a desappointment.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work on johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.
Flux Midnight sky on Netflix