George Clooney The Midnight Sky

George Clooney doesn't work as much as he used to. The actor has accomplished a lot in his career and it seems quite clear that these days he has other things he's interested in, and so, we don't see him on the screen quite as often as we might like. However, because we don't seem him as much, when George Clooney does decide to get in front of a camera, or behind one, or in the case of the new Netflix film The Midnight Sky, both, there's an automatic hope that the movie we're getting is something special.

And yet, while many critics are glad to see George Clooney again, the response to The Midnight Sky is a bit divided. Some find the new film lackluster, but other critics think it's a solid, if predictable, turn for Clooney and company. The new Netflix movie may have the look of a blockbuster science fiction drama, but for some critics, the movie is surprisingly weightless. CinemaBlend's Eric Eisneberg reviewed the film and gave it two stars. While he complemented Clooney's performance, even that he found not to be particularly special...

Being the talented and consummate performer that he is, the actor does a great job with the part – though it’s also not a turn one would rank among the best or most memorable of his career. It’s work you expect, but it’s also not particularly special.

The Midnight Sky sees George Clooney as one of the last people on planet Earth after most have evacuated due to a cataclysm. He has remained there to die of a terminal disease, but the equation changes when he finds a young girl who was apparently left behind. A second, connected, plot line follows astronauts returning home to Earth from deep space.

While that setup certainly has some promise, there are many critics who feel similarly to our own. The Guardian finds that The Midnight Sky's two competing plot lines ultimately do more harm to each other than help, and the big finish that the film spends its ntire runtime building toward simply doesn't hit as hard as it should...

It’s a puzzle. The film floats sedately between these two situations, each distracting from the other’s sense of jeopardy. It glides up to a big, moony cosmic twist then swims placidly away.

However, while some critics may not have loved The Midnight Sky, that's not to say that nobody does, or will. Variety's critic ultimately finds that the film doesn't work, but is, at the same time, still willing to accept that the movie will probably work just fine for others...

Some viewers will surely be moved. To me, though, The Midnight Sky just proves that a movie that reaches for the stars can still come up empty-handed.

Other critics, however, are far less faint with their praise. Deadline adored The Midnight Sky, calling it one of the best films for George Clooney, a man whose previous directorial works have seen significant Oscar love. Where some critics see a film that distracts from itself, others see a careful and deliberate pacing leading to powerful drama...

Clooney has been careful not to rush any of the action, which makes for a deliberately paced adventure but one well worth the effort put in to watch it. It is exceptional.

The larger issue with The Midnight Sky may be that, while it has elements that will appeal to many viewers, that's only because we've seen these elements appeal to viewers before. As EW puts it...

But the film often feels less like its own distinct narrative than a sort of greatest-hits amalgam of movies like The Martian, Gravity, Interstellar, Ad Astra, and all the others that came before; one more long-haul tale of lonely astronauts and contrails in the cosmos.

The Midnight Sky may not a triumphant return for George Clooney, though some critics clearly believe that it is. As per usual, viewers will have to be the final judge. The Midnight Sky hits Netflix December 23.

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