The Midnight Sky by George Clooney [9/10]

George Clooney can do no wrong, whether he sparkles in big budget movies or smoulders in arthouse flicks. “The Midnight Sky” is an exceptional science fiction film directed by him, in which he stars with intensity and conviction. Based on a slim, feted novel by Lily Brooke-Dalton, it is firmly in the dystopia genre, and powerfully so. When a human Armageddon engulfs the globe, a lonely space pioneer in the arctic realizes he needs to head further north for one last frantic attempt to stop a returning space expedition from landing. Burdened by a left-behind young girl, he strives through riveting, beautifully composed snow wilderness scenes, even as equally majestic space scenes track the returning astronauts. Besides Clooney’s career-crowning performance in the lead role, Felicity Jones stuns as a space journeyer, as does Caoilinn Springall as the girl. Some of the swelling strings of the soundtrack intruded (I’m old-fashioned: I hate orchestral film music) but melancholy piano songs compensated. The plot, presumably the book author’s plot, is sneaky, in the best possible way, and the elegaic ending has stayed with me ever since my viewing. In the end. The Midnight Sky is about the human spirit driven by love, and unlike most films that subside into sentimentality, it emerges triumphant. A 2021 highlight.

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