The actor-director’s filmography has exhibited an curiosity in end-of-the-world eventualities — together with producing and starring in a remake of “Fail Protected” for CBS — and he is again in that territory right here. Set in 2049, the film begins three weeks after an unspecified “occasion” that may spell mankind’s doom, with Clooney’s Augustine — located at an outpost within the Arctic — nonetheless alive, however for the way lengthy nobody is aware of.
Nonetheless, Augustine has one job left to carry out: Warning a spaceship with a various crew of astronauts from returning to a dying planet, however quite hoping to divert them, after a deep-space mission that may have offered hope of a liveable planet upon which they might take refuge.
Tailored from Lily Brooks-Dalton’s e book “Good Morning, Midnight” by author Mark L. Smith (“The Revenant”), the movie oscillates between the astronauts and Augustine, whereas fleshing out particulars about his character by way of a collection of flashbacks.
The premise is bleak and the sledding (actually, when Augustine realizes he wants to succeed in one other location to contact them) arduous. There are additionally formidable challenges dealing with the explorers, with a crew that features Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone.
Barring one fairly dramatic space-faring motion sequence, “The Midnight Sky” strikes alongside considerably listlessly, particularly through the earth-bound sequences involving Clooney and the younger woman (Caoilinn Springall) who turns into his companion. (Tom Hanks additionally performs reverse a baby in “Information of the World,” so there should be one thing within the water.)
Maybe inevitably, the movie bears a resemblance to different latest space-set fare, together with a movie through which Clooney co-starred, “Gravity,” and Christopher Nolan’s cerebral “Interstellar.” The primary distinction is a prevailing sense of hopelessness that works as a drag in opposition to the drama.
Clooney established early on with “Good Evening, and Good Luck” that he was a severe filmmaker, versus a dabbling film star, and he has taken possibilities with initiatives of questionable industrial viability, a la the off-kilter “Suburbicon” and “The Monuments Males.”
“The Midnight Sky” is spared from any strain to gentle up the box-office sky on Netflix, and that is simply as nicely. As a result of whereas Clooney has delivered a sobering and considerate movie, dramatically talking the story — a bit like Clooney’s taciturn scientist — feels confined in a jail of its personal making.
“The Midnight Sky” premieres Dec. 23 on Netflix.