The Aloneness Of It

The Midnight Sky
Stars: George Clooney, David Oyelowo, Felicity Jones, Demian Bichir, Kyle Chandler, Tiffany Boone, Caoilinn Springall and Sophia Rundle
Director: George Clooney
Scriptwriter: Mark L. Smith based on “Good Morning, Midnight” by Lily Brooke-Dalton
Composer: Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography: Martin Ruhe
Smokehouse Pictures/Netflix
Rating: PG 13
Running Length: One Hour and Fifty-Eight minutes 

A poignant time for “The Midnight Sky” to be released.  The film is about a catastrophe and that is what we are enduring now as Covid-19 rages through the countries on our planet. There have been many stories of earth devastation, but this one has George Clooney in it, as actor and director.  Plus, the setting is in the frozen north and a race against time. As you will see, time can be rich or it can be empty as outer space.  As with the title, “The Midnight Sky,” the sky will always be here.  Clooney plays Augustine, a scientist who now has a purpose, and that is to notify others of the catastrophe on Earth. 

The story begins when Augustine is a young man with a need to discover things and his need is to find places in the galaxy where man could live. Fast forward to the year 2049 and man has sent ships to distant planets to find habitable places. Augustine is an older man and quite ill. A sudden event with radiation wipes most of humanity away leaving Augustine with one purpose.  To go to a laboratory with an antenna and equipment powerful enough to warn the space travelers not to come back to Earth.  Nothing here for them, and go back to what you discovered and live there.  One ship does answer him and then we learn of the people there, two men and two women (Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone and Demian Bichir), and the decisions they must make now.  Back at the Arctic station, Augustine discovers a child (Caoilinn Springall) who was apparently left behind when people hurriedly left.  They have to travel together to reach another station, and you get a good look at the frozen North. By this time, you are reaching for a blanket to keep warm and wondering if the dangers in the Arctic are as serious as the dangers in space.  Will this midnight sky be the last one anyone on Earth ever sees? 

First of all, the cinematography by Martin Ruhe is very good and brings the audience into the coldness and aloneness of this devastation.  Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack goes with the people and locations well. George Clooney’s directing gives us the facial expression of Augustine as a tired, ill man on a trek, and then we see him pushing himself to go out into the cold and continue this trek. When he speaks to the child, it is quietly, and you sense that time is precious to him. . Clooney looks so worn out you feel you can’t even get out of your chair after the film. 

The storyline gives the audience enough information about what has happened without going on and on as in some science fiction films. You have just enough to realize the storyline and can see for yourself how this is affecting everyone.  There have been storylines with Earth being hit by meteors. alien space ships, an exploding sun (“Melancholy”), a dying sun freezing Earth, a massive plague and have I forgotten any?  This time, instead of mass transportation leaving town, you have a single individual on a trek to warn those not on the planet, to go away. How alone is that? 

“The Midnight Sky”


Copyright 2020 Marie Asner