Visually breathtaking and gorgeously filmed, ‘Ad Astra’ is a space epic that takes you on a thematically ambitious journey across the stars. It’s about an astronaut who must embark on a daring personal mission to Neptune in order to uncover the truth surrounding his missing father…
A relatively subdued but excellent Brad Pitt plays the fearless son, charting a course through the vast, bleak expanse of space. He’s fearless and ruminative, and the frequent interspersing of introspection gets us in the head of this fully formed character. The writing is strong, and when paired with a stirring score, ‘Ad Astra’ soon suggests something memorable is on the horizon.
The film is spectacular to look at, capturing awe-inspiring sights with stunning cinematography, lending this sci-fi drama an arthouse feel that seems appropriate given the scope of the story and beauty of the locations. It’s slow moving, but it never feels a chore to sit through, with writer/director James Gray guiding us through this cosmic night with an assured hand. His story builds to a powerful conclusion – bond between father and son tested; themes treated with care.
Overall, ‘Ad Astra’ is a great filmmaking achievement. Technically it’s brilliant, and dramatically it engrosses. The attention to detail and overpowering sense of wonder force you to surrender to the experience – to the sights of glorious places almost unfathomable. It is mesmeric, poetic, and powerful… a science fiction film filled with images and music simultaneously bleak and hopeful; a transcendent experience so profound that it fuels that desire, that ache, that need to be out there exploring across the stars, beyond the sun… it is a masterpiece that held my complete attention and never let go.
Score – 10/10