Director :James Gray
Producer(s) : Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, James Gray, Anthony Katagas, Rodrigo Teixeira and Arnon Milchan
Starring : Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler and Donald Sutherland
Genre : Sci-fi/Thriller
Release Date : September 20, 2019 (Nigeria)
Music Director : Dev Hynes
Awesome-O-Metre : 8.0/10
Revue of AD ASTRA
Ad Astra is a paranoid thriller set in space in the near future and follows Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) on a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones) and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.
The highlight of the film is Pitt’s emotionally closed-off and pensive performance as the spaceman with daddy issues. The funny thing is that even though Pitts sadness and emotionlessness are his strength which make him the best suited Spaceman for this expedition but turned out to be his weakness. Furthermore, I was fascinated by the cinematographic POV style that James Gray employed in the film- Brad Pitts Character is broody and lonely and so Ad Astra is shot with tight frames employing a lot of close ups to further exaggerate his lonesome nature. Also, being shot against the the backdrop of the vastness of space transmitted Pitts character’s solitude.
It may seem that I am really hyping this film and you are correct because I really enjoyed it especially because I saw it in IMAX (which is the best way to see it anyway) but I must warn you that this film isn’t for everyone. The thing about Ad Astra is you will either love it or you will hate it, there are no in-betweens. Ad Astra’s trailer may mislead you into thinking that the film is an action packed film with lots of space shootouts and action sequences and you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Ad Astra just like Interstellar is more of an emotional journey about the nature of man, his emotions and relationships- so I must warn you that don’t go expecting to see boom, boom, pow as Ad Astra is nothing of such.
The best part of Ad Astra is Brad Pitt’s performance as the meditative spaceman, but this has a make-or-break effect. The thing is that Ad Astra puts so much emphasis on Pitt’s character that other characters are ignored or killed off just as you are getting to know (or even like) them. This focus polarizes the audiences because if you are unable to relate with Pitts character, this film will be a total dud to you and will appear boring AF.
Another thing I loved so much about the movie is the haunting and hypnotic score by Dev Hynes. However, I can’t help but notice the similarity between his score and Hans Zimmer’s score for Interstellar especially as both scores relied heavily on loud, blaring organs. Other than the score, the producers used a lot of actual space sounds from space expeditions such as planetary radio emissions and this gave it a feeling of verisimilitude similar to Ryan Goslings First Man (which is another film that I love so much).
Ad Astra isn’t your usual space thriller with a lot of action but an intense, slow burning emotional journey about conviction and passion and the effect of one’s decisions on ourselves and our loved ones. Brad Pitt gives such a lifetime performance of that it’s apparent that the movie was made deliberately to position him for an Oscar nod.
One lesson I took from Ad Astra is that children try so hard to be nothing like their parents only to discover that they are EXACTLY like them.
Have an awesome week ahead!