“Ad Astra”… Brad Pitt is terrific in a space saga with less-than-terrific writing

Posted on September 3, 2019


The film harks back to a more solemn tradition of space cinema. It’s what space sounded like before George Lucas invented the lightsabre and the Stormtrooper.

Spoilers ahead…

You can read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/venice-international-film-festival-2019-ad-astra-movie-review-baradwaj-rangan/

The Venice Film Festival seems to have a thing for brooding space melodramas where blasting off from earth is less an adventure than a primal form of therapy. Last year, it was First Man, which grappled with the loss of a daughter. Now, we have James Gray’s Ad Astra, where Brad Pitt (as Major Roy McBride) grapples with the absence of his father (Tommy Lee Jones). The opening text informs us that we are in the “near future”, when humanity is looking to other stars for intelligent life and the promise of progress. But this sense of excitement and wonder and adventure is not what this film is about. Roy looks downright depressed when we first see him. He looks away while undergoing a “psych eval”, the way we look away from people when we don’t really want to engage with them, when we’d rather be left alone. “I will not allow myself to be distracted by unimportant things,” he says. One of these things is his wife, Eve (Liv Tyler). When she walks out of their home, the camera’s focus is on Roy, in the foreground. She’s a blur somewhere in the far distance. That’s probably what she is to him.

Continued at the link above.

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