Hollywood loves a sci-fi movie; there isn’t a year that goes by where one isn’t released. This is a rare genre that typically releases good quality movies year in year out, even though the formula for space movies seems to have been used over and over. Saying that however for some reason that formula seems to work and has churned out the likes of ‘Gravity’, ‘Interstellar’, ‘The Martian’ and now ‘Ad Astra’, all being quality pieces of cinema.
‘Ad Astra’ follows Roy McBride, an astronaut sent on a mission to across the solar system to find out what happened to his fathers failed expedition to Neptune. What seems to be his first voyage into the sci-fi/space genre, Brad Pitt takes a leap of faith and impresses as Roy McBride. His character is incredibly isolated and clearly shows that he is person full of anger, frustration and confusion. His inability to have a relationship with his father, whom disappeared 30 years ago, and to show his on-off partner Eve (Liv Tyler) any kind of affection clearly grinds on Roy. Pitt does a remarkable job playing this conflicted character who is going through a testing time in his life. His journey of self-reflection and answering questions that have haunted him for is the films shining light. Pitt is the solo star of ‘Ad Astra’ and demonstrates that he still has that raw talent that he demonstrated his early career, some three decades ago. This is one of All Things Movies favourite performances by Pitt in recent times, alongside his performance as Cliff Booth in ‘Once Upon A Time in…Hollywood’, also released in 2019. Our prediction is that one or the other will score him an Oscar nomination.
The direction of ‘Ad Astra’ is to be looked at like a piece of art. Director James Gray impresses with the camera with his visual spectacle of the solar system. As mentioned above, there have been many space movies that have looked impressive, but ‘Ad Astra’, alongside ‘Interstellar’ from 2014, both pay homage to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ due to its emotional affect and use of colours such as deep reds and blue. ‘Ad Astra’ poses questions throughout the movie that really makes you deep dig to what the film is trying to tell you. The visual aspect of the movie is so impressive that you have to pinch yourself as a reminder that the shots of the solar systems aren’t real.
In short, I was blown away by ‘Ad Astra’. It’s a sci-fi movie with heart; emotion and requiring your full concentration throughout. It’s one of the most visually stunning movies of 2019 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see its name pop up on a few of the nominations at the upcoming Academy Awards.
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