Did you like movies like Interstellar, Gravity or First Man? If the answer is yes, you can not miss Ad Astra, a new space epic that serves a double function: on the one hand, make us think of a near future in which the trips to the Moon and the sending manned missions to the planets of the Solar System and, on the other hand, moving an intimate story about an astronaut plunged into a huge existential crisis.
James Gray also launches the film after the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the human being on the Moon, that is, at a very pertinent moment, wondering about what could be the problems that we could export to the Earth's natural satellite in a very plausible recreation of what could be the lunar and Martian colonies (and how little they could change the goals of our scientists in the short term).
Roy McBride has followed in the footsteps of his father, a reputed astronaut considered one of the great pioneers of space conquest. While he was still young, Commander Clifford McBride led a mission whose main objective was to seek intelligent life beyond Neptune, reaching the confines known at that time of the Solar System. However, contact with her was lost, so that all information was lost and of course all crew members.
Thirty years later, the Earth begins to receive waves of cosmic rays from deep space, causing spikes, lethal accidents and massive deaths, which makes the space program drivers suspect that Dr. Clifford can stay alive. With the intention of contacting him, Roy is required to travel to Mars and send him a message that determines his location and stops the threat that could destroy the human being forever.
Reading the synopsis of Ad Astra is easy to think that the film will be excessively fanciful, but the truth is that most of his footage is very close to the feasible reality. It is very plausible to imagine the commercial flights to the Moon as they are shown in the film and to suppose that the human being will stumble twice with the same stone replicating the same mistakes that he is committing on Earth in his space bases: "we are devouring world" Roy says at one point in one of his abundant internal dialogues, which are what guide the action from beginning to end, if you don't believe us you can watch online the movie and see for yourself.
However, in the final impasses, Gray does allow himself to play much more with the story, assuming licenses that would otherwise have turned the film into an agony (although it also breaks that invisible contract he had contracted with the viewer to be true to the possible).
In any case, we are partakers of a space epic of tearing force in which the images and the excellent soundtrack, accompanied by a perfect sound design, make up pieces of a great lyricism. Ad Astra reaches high levels of emotional impact that refer us directly to the construction of The Lost City of Z, Gray's previous project with which this film keeps so many concomitance, but introducing aspects that connect with the Greek tragedy above all regarding the paternal-subsidiary relationship of Roy and Clifford.
The hero needs to overcome the loss of his father and also do so by separating himself from him in order to conform to himself: that final catharsis is in which the script of the film allows a more dreamlike treatment and less adjusted to a credible reality, but It is also one of the greatest charms of the tape.
Regarding the interpretations, Liv Tyler has a small but important role to be Roy's anchor to Earth and let's also say that his humanity, beyond the internal dichotomy in which he feels imprisoned (that self-imposed breastplate that makes him seem unperturbed although in truth it is shattered inside and wishing to run away from his mask) but if there are two interpreters who eat the screen they are veterans Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones. Ad Astra also has some Kafka in his DNA by showing the individual as a simple pawn of a much larger system and largely unknown to him. This is demonstrated by Roy's (obviously) useless psychological evaluations and all the bureaucratic structures through which he moves. Watch now the movie to find out if it's worth all the buzz.
Regarding Brad Pitt, it is not the best option for casting by having to bear practically the entire weight of the film on his shoulders, although there is no doubt that it will provide an important gravitational pull attracting the public to movie theaters. It is true that his role demands some hieratism (something similar to what happened to Ryan Gosling in First Man), which somehow easily ascribes to the interpreter, but it is also true that an actor with more emotional record could have done that the film was much more round and emotionally subjugating.
In this sense, there is also some sequence that fails to provide relevant information and that undermines to a certain extent the pace of the film (especially the rescue mission to the ship of some researchers), but these are minor evils if we value the whole , given that the film offers such a feast that obscures those problems. At all levels it is an imposing production and its final message lives up to expectations.