Directed by George Clooney. With George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Caoilinn Springall. This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.
Source: The Midnight Sky (2020) – IMDb
A messy script, or were scenes added to satisfy a test audience?
29 December 2020
MANY SPOILERS AHEAD!
Goes to say without a doubt that the effects are spectacular. Ice, space, above, below, all good.
But the script seems to let all good efforts and money down.
Great setting of scene, but the girl possibly having been left behind is the vital turning point for a untrustworthy storyteller. Without this we would have no reason to root for Clooneys character. Which turns out to be a story of regret – what he Would have done, Had he been like he is today. And once we reach the conclusion to the technical story – the contact between the remaining vessel and Earth – the girl vanishes. The whole story turns highly Biblical, even more so than prior to this, as he finds redemption by being driven to “think of other people”, ie. the girl and the people on the vessel, and try to give humanity a fresh start. Even though the odds are most likely only “continuing to live now rather than dying now”. But as HE was the one believing in the discovered planet just visited, it is only fitting that he saved his daughter and grandchild IN THE FUTURE. Or rather: Gave her and the child’s father a place to go to. “If not the whole of humanity, we will just start over with 3 people. And then the father has to impregnate the (as yet unborn) daughter, once she reaches maturity, or some un-mentioned embryo-growing facility is on the cutting room floor too, or they forgot to mention the fact, while leaving a door open to all the things they will expose their own children to in the name of furthered humanity… (doesn’t take too much speculation in order to come up with the consequences of being only 3 people on an otherwise unpopulated planet… Pheiwww…
And then there is the “event” causing the destruction of the Earth, which is never explained. Such you can get away with, if your allegory is bigger, stronger and more valuable than any (humongous) plot device. THIS is not the case here, though. Every human dies, and the second last story told is of redemption and the biological imperative with a little darwinistic-deselection-of-the-weak and family unit of soon-to-be-three thrown in.
And if that is not enough the script wavers and lingers from action into almost standstill, while new information to feed the coming action is delivered.
It is a BAD movie, and much more so in light of all the wasted energy. I watch a LOT of movies. I consult resources, I write my own stories, I know storytelling. And I am flummoxed by the fact that this script AS IS SEEN HERE was ever produced. Or does it reside on the cutting room floor? The little girl Clooney’s character saves may have been a real one rather than an imagined so, and test audiences found the fact that the little girl had to die also less than enticing, so they made her into an imaginative one in order to make a moment, where Clooneys character might be the actual father of the saved woman in space.
Looking at the whole film AS IF she was in fact alive rather than imagined, makes a whole lot more sense, when you look at all the actual hardship Clooney’s character endures in order to cope with bringing the girl along In order to save the remaining humans in space.
But that still leaves the pacing of the movie etc.
Glad I watched it, but annoyed I might never or just in a long time discover the actual story behind this idea to portray the biological imperative in this way.
(Sorry for the inspirations scattered all over the place, tried to keep it unspoiled for as long as possbile, and can’t be bothered to go back and polish it).