'The Midnight Sky' Review With Casey
The Midnight Sky is a quiet contemplative drama, set in the future, about survival and human connection adapted from the 2016 novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. Since The Midnight Sky premiered on Netflix recently, it has inspired a persistent philosophical question in my mind: “What is happening to George Clooney?” I don’t mean to suggest that Gorge Clooney is sliding into Nicholas Cage territory. (Color Out of Space will forever remain one of the worst films of 2020.) What my question means is, “When did George Clooney become so sentimental in his work?”
As the leading star, director, and co-producer of The Midnight Sky, George Clooney (Hail, Caesar!, 2016) plays a haggard lone scientist living near the North Pole who crosses his radio waves with the crew of a space shuttle returning to Earth while the rest of the planet’s population remains inexplicably silent.
This film adaptation adds more action scenes to the story than the book has (presumably to make the film more entertaining to a wider audience). And the book’s rich backstories of the main characters unfortunately take a backseat to the dangers of traveling through space or through the Arctic. (Both are very hard.) So the human emotions of loss, regret, and fear don’t get much time to shine.
And while the moments of harrowing survival are entertaining, the moments of human connection feel mushy and clumsy. The Midnight Sky has some good moments, but when other moments are filled with so much forcefully touching emotion, it makes me wish it wasn’t so imbalanced and heavy-handed. The Midnight Sky is not a terrible film. It comes close to a bullseye, but it doesn't hit the mark exactly.