After the jovial Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Brad Pitt is back again(almost instantly) as a broody but poised astronaut in James Gray’s latest outing, Ad Astra.
The film is gorgeously shot! It hooks you in right at the start with a thrilling sequence and outstanding cinematography which only gets better as the film progresses. However, the mundane narration doesn’t quite do the former justice.
Ad Astra does have a relatively interesting premise that tells the story of an exceptional astronaut, Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt). He’s exhibited to be always calm in the most devastating circumstances ever imaginable and is depended on to save the world from a cosmic threat. Buuut, his kryptonite is that he has daddy issues.
If you do not like slow-burn movies, this is not a watch for you. This movie is really slow, which I guess is necessary for the tone and direction of the film. Ad Astra does a pretty good job of following the journey of McBride and regularly shows you how he mentally and emotionally deals with the loneliness of being in the cosmos. Yet, it still falls short in terms of its plot that mostly sleepwalks as there are very few impactful scenes.
Brad Pitt aces in his portrayal of the character. He has two pages of lines at max and is mostly emotionless throughout the film. Nevertheless, he never fails to grip the audience with sheer expression and scores best during close-up shots.
Space movies only show you the cool, adrenaline-pumping parts of themselves. I’m sure some of you might have wanted to know what the hell actually goes up there. Well, Ad Astra does in fact tries to show you the nitty-gritty parts of travelling to space. There are paperwork, transits and even in-spaceship shopping, which is fantastic as it brings the earthly element right to the screens where trees and birds are absent.
Ad Astra takes you on a beautiful looking journey to space that is a delight to the eye but it doesn’t quite feel fulfilling. It suffers from a frail screenplay which ultimately leads to a weak message and payoff in the end.