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Ad Astra introduces slow buildup, engaging story in Sci-Fi movie


Ad Astra is a science-fiction drama directed by James Gray and starring Brad Pitt. Taking place in the near future, Ad Astra is

[/media-credit] Pitt’s Roy McBride looks out at the nearby planet, ready to set out on his mission.about an astronaut on a mission to find his missing father. 

This task sets Roy out on a nonstop psychological exploration, diving into the themes of father-son relationships, legacy, expectations and isolation. I absolutely love this film. This film has had an odd reception overall, beloved by critics and pretty hated by mainstream audiences, which makes sense.

This film is a slow burn, taking its time to sit in imagery and moments of emotion, never picking up. For me, those were the best parts because the actors sell it, particularly Brad Pitt, giving his best performance in years.

Also an astronaut, his father has been missing for 29 years since leaving for a mission to explore and research other planets in our solar system.Brad Pitt stars in this science-fiction noir drama film as astronaut Roy McBride who is also known as the son of a legendary astronaut Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones).

Clifford was an astronaut sent to explore Neptune. After an electrical surge sent from his presumed location threatens the whole solar system, the government recruits Roy in an attempt to communicate with his father. Roy must race to figure out if he is alive and if so, why he is still gone.

Tommy Lee Jones as Roy’s father Clifford is very shocking and uncomfortable in all the right ways, also delivering his best performance in years. He’s not in the film much, but in the scenes he has he demands your attention.

The direction by Gray also amazed me, delivering a gorgeous looking film as well as an emotionally-invested character study. It’s not clear exactly what year the film takes place, but I was sold on the grand yet realistic portrayal of space travel and futuristic life.

It’s evident that Gray was inspired by imagery from films like Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, both very slow, intellectual films with beautiful space imagery.

[/media-credit] During Ad Astra’s time period, the moon’s land is unclaimed, resulting  in Roy McBride fighting off space pirates in a tense scene.

One of my favorite scenes in the film is Roy’s trip to the moon. In the future, space travel is treated like an every day flight: accessible to any willing buyer. The moon is also known to be unclaimed territory, leading to a jaw-dropping shootout on the moon’s surface between Roy’s team and space pirates. It was actually not as cheesy as it sounds.

Ad Astra also has some genuinely shocking and tense moments, making me jump at times. The slow build really lends itself to many moments, adding to the more climatic scenes.

Every theme the film explores is done as well as it could have been; particularly Roy’s parallel to his father, isolating himself with a goal that he will fight for at any cost. There’s a scene in the film that escalates the stakes to 11, with a no-turning-back moment that forces you to question what the moral line is, much like the lead character in that moment.

I can see how some people wouldn’t like the film because it is very slow and could lose audiences’ attention if they aren’t fully engaged in the story and characters. But if you’re invested in the film like I was, you will enjoy it. It is very much a film lover’s film, with its best elements easily missed if you don’t care as much about imagery and slow emotional scenes.

The film is one of the most original and inspiring films I’ve seen this year. Ad Astra is a film that I really understood and connected to. I loved the depiction of isolation and the toll it takes on a human. The scale of space is a metaphor for how grand our universe is and yet the most important things in life are back on our small, blue planet. The relationships we have are the life source we need. Everything we have is nothing if we don’t have relationships to fall back on.

If you love science-fiction films go see this movie. If you love beautifully written stories and characters, go see this movie. Ad Astra is a beautiful film that is worthy of your time.

The following video features Ethan Hamm reviewing Ad Astra alongside the movie trailer.

For more reviews by Ethan Hamm, check out Glass provides unique perspective to superhero film genre.

For more articles, check out Pink out proceeds benefits child’s fight against cancer or Plastic accumulates in Atlantic Ocean, trash vortex swells.

Ethan Hamm can be reached via email .

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