George Clooney delivers on his own Space Odyssey.
“The Midnight Sky,” George Clooney’s first film in years, chronicles on a global disaster that left the planet Earth uninhabitable with only one survivor who must warn the astronauts returning home that they’re not safe. It’s a bold Sci-Fi movie that features a complex narration as well as some dazzling visuals and excellent performances.
Never before have I seen blood bubbles levitate in zero gravity on a space ship, and it looks exhilarating, photographed in a “2001: A Space Odyssey” sort of way. It’s space images of a toxic Earth frightens you, and its stars vibrates with grace. And the effects also convince us that the astronauts can levitate and repair their spacecraft on the outside. Seeing the actors experience these things matches the mood quite well.
Seeing this on a big screen before it premieres on a small screen (Netflix) was an experience for me. It’s not always understandable, but it does keep you glued with its thrills, dangers, visuals and characters. The reviews for this movie are mixed, but as an ambitious Sci-Fi movie, I was reminded of “Cloud Atlas” with how the visuals bring the best of the realities we may or may not have seen before. Clooney directs this movie with a sentimental tone.
In front of the camera, he plays an ill scientist named Augustine Lofthouse, who is left in an arctic laboratory, and constantly tries to send a message to the space crew about how devastating the Earth has become. The astronauts he tries to contact with are the pregnant Sully (Felicity Jones), the commander Tom Adewole (David Oyelowo), the newbie Maya (Tiffany Boone), the navigator Sanchez (Demian Bichir), and the family man Mitchell (Kyle Chandler).
In the meantime, he finds a mute little girl named Iris (newcomer Caoilinn Springall) inside the lab, and he must bring her out in the frozen tundra in order to find another lab, which could help him make better contact with the space crew. The movie’s thrills feature Augustine and Iris resting in an empty trailer, which is about to sink in the water. I admire how Clooney films that scene with suspense and tension, and how the characters get out of the sinking trailer.
The parts that you might not understand is how the Earth got poisoned to begin with, and its ending, which I won’t spoil. But outside them, “The Midnight Sky” takes its chances and eases us into what is happening in the main scientist’s situation and the astronauts in space. In front of and behind the camera, Clooney is able to find the scope of his reality and processes the turmoil of mankind’s direction, given the circumstances. And he also guides the terrific cast in moments of real awe and sincere emotions. Jones, Oyelow, Boone, Bichir, and Chandler are all uniformly excellent with their own ambitions of hope, and Springall makes an impressive debut when she connects with Clooney and takes her delicate steps.
I seek Sci-Fi movies that make bold moves, transcend us into different worlds, use sentimental tones, and provide professional actors, who aren’t in them to sell 7-Eleven cups or M&Ms. “The Midnight Sky” has a lot to offer, whether you see it through its perspective or not. After all, you’re all entitled to your own opinions. I’m just laying out mine.
Now Playing in Select Theaters
Premieres on Netflix December 23