The Answers We Seek Are Just Outside Our Reach
Plot: Astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) undertakes a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe – Ad Astra.
Director: James Gray
Release Date: September 2019
When it comes to Ad Astra, the film you expect after seeing the trailers and the film you actually see are completely different and this might turn some viewers off, not for me, the film turned out better than I expected.
The trailers you would be forgiven for thinking you are about to experience a film somewhere between Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and 2001: A Space Odyssey, with Pitt attempting to stop his father from destroying the world, but what you get is closer in tone to Apocalypse Now mixed with Interstellar, with a lot of soul searching and monologues.
These days we have been treated to a long line of gorgeous looking near-future science fiction films set in space. With Ad Astra joining that list, Grey’s use of pastel colours is the perfect counterpoint to the blackness of space.
The film’s pace might not be for everyone, but Pitt’s stellar acting and unpredictability of the plot kept me glued right through. I certainly wasn’t expecting the film to have such a high death count, such an interesting look at the near future and a killer monkey.
This doesn’t mean that the film doesn’t have faults, namely, the supporting cast filled with big-name actors such as Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland but given nothing to do, Tyler’s character especially seems a waste given her talents.
Another aspect that threw me a couple of times was some of the quirky editing choices, which would feel more at home in a Wes Anderson film than a serious drama.
All in all, Ad Astra is a near-perfect drama about a man searching for the father who abandoned him, which just happens to be set in space.