You'd have to go back to 2011 for the last time I saw a film directed by George Clooney. It was The Ides of March and I remember being pretty impressed with what he brought to the table. That being said, I've naturally associated him more with acting and he's given some really good performances over the years. Clooney returns to directing himself in a film, after taking a break in Suburbicon, with The Midnight Sky, a new science-fiction film from Netflix.

Following a mysterious global catastrophe, Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, races across treacherous terrain to warn a crew of astronauts from returning home to a uninhabitable planet Earth.

If you're looking to settle down and watch an uplifting film over Christmas then The Midnight Sky is most definitely not the film for you. It's a slow-burner and, while that doesn't necessarily make it a bad film, it doesn't really feel like it goes anywhere, particularly ending with quite a whimper after quite a promsing set-up. For a year where a lot of us have spent it not seeing many people outisde our own home, The Midnight Sky probably comes at the worst time for Netflix as it does really meander along in a depressive state.

That being said, while I found the narrative a little too inaccessible, The Midnight Sky is a film that does feature some fine aspects in other areas. The score from Alexandre Desplat is a delight, quiet and dreamlike in the background, while Martin Ruhe's cinematography does a great job in emphasisng the isolation of Augustine in the Arctic.

Coming to the performances, Clooney and his supporting cast deliver a decent standard but are let down by not much of a script to work with. It's an ambitious sci-fi film for sure but I felt it didn't quite know what it wanted to be, and it comes across that way with the performances. For a film that boasts such an impressive cast, you can't help but expect more.

All in all, The Midnight Sky is a bit of a mess from George Clooney, starting quite promisingly before falling apart as a result of tonal confusion and a final act that might reach for the stars but ends up failing to launch.

Verdict: ★★½


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