Movies, Reviews

RTF Film Review: ‘AD ASTRA Is Brad Pitt At His Best, And Totally Worth It

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‘Synopsis for Ad Astra: “When he receives the news that his father may still be alive after being though lost in the depths of space, Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) embarks on the most personal and challenging mission of his life.”

As someone that loves movies like Nolan’s Interstellar or Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, as soon as I saw the first trailer for Ad Astra, it was immediately added to my list of most anticipated movies for 2019. The mystery, the look, the feel; what this movie was claiming to be fascinated me. It felt like a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the big Hollywood blockbusters that we’ve been getting almost every week for the last couple of years. And here we are now, one week after its theatrical release and I got a chance to watch it.

So, what’s my verdict?

I loved it.

Ad Astra is a beautiful journey, both in its visuals and its intimate moments. As someone that enjoys stories that highlight a character’s journey and transformation, this movie delivers on so many levels. Roy McBride’s (Pitt) story arc is something that most of us, if not all of us can relate to. We have all been in a situation where we’ve have had to keep our emotions and inner turmoil in check, as we navigate carefully towards the necessary solution.  Brad Pitt does a fantastic job in portraying a stern and collected astronaut. The way he transmits Roy’s struggles throughout the film keeps you tuned in from beginning to end. I will even go as far to say that I would be surprised if he isn’t nominated for best actor next year.

Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

When it comes to another star that does a phenomenal job, though only around for a couple of scenes, Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as the grumpy, yet determined old man that doesn’t care about anything or anyone; only the mission (why am I suddenly getting these Men in Black vibes?).

And since I mentioned 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie contains a lot of nods and winks to Kubrick’s masterpiece. There are even a couple of shots that are very reminiscent to 2001 in both tone and style. Ad Astra is also the most gorgeous space movie I’ve seen since Gravity. Whenever Brad Pitt’s character is in space, you believed that they are out there in that endless sea of mystery.

However, another quality that the film shares with Kubrick’s magnum opus is that it’s a slow burn; which might discourage some from sitting down for this this 2-hour and 3 minute sci-fi drama.

The only issue I had with the film was Liv Tyler as Brad Pitt’s girlfriend. She does a good job with what she is given, but her scenes are so short and far between with barely any lines. One might think that her role is too small for an actress of her caliber. Even Tommy Lee Jones, who doesn’t have many scenes either, was given scenes of greater length and material to sink his teeth into.

Ad Astra is a movie for those that are looking for a beautiful and well-crafted personal journey piece. It is very stylistic and reminiscent of old school sci-fi movies, particularly Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece from 1968. It might not be for everyone because of its slow pacing from start to end and though it might not use every actor to their fullest potential; everyone does a great job with the material that they are given. If you need something that isn’t your typical blockbuster, Ad Astra is a solid choice if you looking for a unique experience at the cinema. Yours truly isn’t someone that usually watches the same movie more then once in the movie theater, but I’m open for the idea when it comes to Ad Astra.

Grade: A

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Isak Wolf

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