Five Reasons You’ll Love It - January 27, 2020

Ad Astra - Five Reasons You'll Love It
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

Ad Astra - Five Reasons You'll Love It

Ad Astra falls into a tricky category for the moviegoing public. Cerebral sci-fi. A sub-genre dotted with pitfalls. 

If you strike gold, the rewards are huge, take Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or Alex Garland's Ex Machina, but if you misfire, it's nearly always a very expensive mistake. 

Into this territory, much-acclaimed director James Gray wades in with Ad Astra, a glacial thriller set in the near future. 

The film stars Brad Pitt as Roy McBride, an astronaut who is tasked with a mission to find his father, who has never returned from a mission that set out to find intelligent life in the rest of the solar system. 

Slowly, as he undertakes the mission, McBride is drawn deeper and deeper into a strange mystery that threatens the survival of our planet...

Gray, director of We Own The Night and The Lost City Of Z, takes charge. He works from a script he co-wrote with Ethan Gross. 

Starring alongside Pitt are Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland. 

Ad Astra is out now on DVD shelves, but, back before it hit cinemas, we caught an early screening and have put together five reasons you'll love this epic thriller...


Pitt commands the film superbly...


While the supporting cast line-up is pretty stellar, no one gets more than five minutes screentime other than Pitt, and, for long, long stretches of the film, he's alone up there. It's a lot of heavy lifting and would have overwhelmed a lot of actors, but Pitt carries it off superbly. 


Tommy Lee Jones does a lot with a little...

Jones plays Pitt's father Clifford and appears largely in flashbacks or ragged video extracts from his mission, but that is enough to deliver a compelling, menacing performance. 


It looks stunning...

With a budget of over $80 million, this isn't a cheap endeavour, but the visual effects and the detail in the spacecraft, the technology and the exteriors is breathtaking. 


And incredibly atmospheric...

Gray offers up a lot of space (pun intended) to the movie's feel. Scenes never feel rushed, silences are long and things are deliberately left to linger. That, combined with Max Richter's spine-tingling score, makes for an exhilarating, but very tense experience. 


It'll keep you guessing until the very end...

With a 124-minute running time and the aforementioned sluggish pace, this couldn't exactly be called a thriller, but the way it unravels will surprise everybody. It's proper edge of your seat stuff. 


Ad Astra is out now in hmv stores and available here in hmv's online store. 

Ad Astra
Ad Astra James Gray

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