Ad Astra – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Ad Astra – Melancholy and Hope: A Space Story

Telling a story; it stretches from median to median.  Traveling with characters through their world entices the audience to feel something genuine.  In that, you become enthralled by the meaning, falling deep within the context of finding something true to your own personal guise.  Moving through the vast unknown of space, Ad Astra gives you a glimpse of a world that is fantastic but endearing to its core.  With a strong lead performance and a story that pushes the limits of its genre, Ad Astra is a journey that shows the meaning of real storytelling.

Ad Astra centers on Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) an astronaut who is sent on a mission to uncover the truth about his missing father, H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), and the doom expedition that now threatens the existence of life.  The director, James Gray, creates a story that pushes the genre beyond its traditional boundaries.  The aesthetic of space provides the outline, but it is the main character, Roy McBride, that leads us on a different kind of journey.  His introduction and the overview of the mission to stop the Lima Project is straightforward, but it’s the thematic detail that marks the strength of the story.  Centering around the characterization of Roy, you see how he deals with learning that his father might be alive, and not the hero he believes him to be.  The subtle expressions are key, driven by soft mannerisms and subdue interactions with the world and other ancillary characters.  This provides the complexity of a person that is driven by the mission but blinded by his own false images of his father.  With complimentary narration along with vague flashbacks, you head on a journey that uses the generic plot device of stopping the destruction of the Solar System while paralleling Roy’s growth beyond his fractured emotional state.  In this, it blends a dramatic character piece within Sci-Fi elements. 

The story is very subdued on purpose.  The director aims to create an ominous mood through atmosphere, allowing space to become complimentary within minimalist interactions.  This cause the audience to see idealism at the forefront, pushing tropes through a thought-provoking way.  In this, it pushes the expected with ironic twists, giving an honest look at revelations that are driven by wonder and isolation.  Moving at a methodical pace helps you believe in Roy’s convictions, but also see how certain situations forces him to make tough choices.  Once in the third act, everything comes full circle for the mission, creating a scenario of subliminal guises through the cinematography of space.  This leads into a climax that is intense within its own simplistic detail.  This creates an epilogue of forgiveness; a retrospective on the meaning of life.  Ad Astra goes beyond its basic aesthetics, creating a subversive story that is riveting beyond the traditional norms of the genre.  With a great performance from Brad Pitt, it leads to one of the best films of the year.  For people who are fans of great acting, methodical storytelling and Sci-Fi that is more than typical, this is one for you.  This film will not disappoint, a truly award worthy kind of story.

Full Score – 4.5 out of 5 (Award Worthy)

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