Space is certainly a very common setting for a lot of science fiction movies.
However Space is in fact a very very (very!) large place with many places to go. For this film we are coming back to our own backyard of the Solar System to take a more realistic and down to earth (heh) look at space travel. While Ad Astra means “to the stars” we’re only going to see our neighbouring planets but trust me when I say the film proves that much is plenty.
Ad Astra to put it quite simply, is absolutely beautiful. Director James Gray took the wonders of Space and put them on show right on the big screen where they belong. Moments of the movie will have you just staring in absolute awe at the spectacular sights. The sound design supplements this perfectly while also making tons of sense like there not actually being a lot of noise outside in Space.
The cast is a short list but filled with top quality. With no surprises Brad Pitt knocks it out of the solar system with his performance as the astronaut Roy McBride. It really is something else the way he plays a character who is known for his absolute lack of emotion, excitement and fear. The supporting cast is also great despite Roy being the only character we see through to the end.
The world Ad Astra creates flows so well throughout the movie that you never feel like it needs to be explained to you as a viewer. The details and the settings you are taken through all feel like they could come right out of the humanity we know if you just added a few hundred years (try and spot the Applebees). Of course the further we get from Earth the less it feels like home so we carry the same tension that Roy does.
The story of Ad Astra isn’t really much to write home about but it’s the themes which carry it right back up. We start with a standard mystery which sets the story in motion. The journey to that mystery however creates an almost soothing slow burn there as you learn more about Roy and watch him develop as a human being. The lessons of isolation and how to deal with it will reach into your soul and stay with you.
If you’re looking for a journey through the solar system with all the greatness and all the tragedy that can come with it then Ad Astra is for you. I think I need to mention again how beautiful this movie is.
Find the biggest screen you have available and make sure the lights are out and the sound is on.
Running Time: 124 MIN
Director: James Gray
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland
Production Studio: 20th Century Fox
Distributor: 20th Century Fox