The Gonger Reviews...Ad Astra
…your Dad’s Astra
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland.
Synopsis: A father and son on the opposite sides of nowhere, destroy all they touch.
Cinematography: Its one heck of a spectacle from start to finish. Funny thing is I’m watching this flick and thinking “wow this looks a lot like Interstellar (2014)” and sure enough cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema is behind the camera shooting all sorts of good good. Yes, I believe that is the scientifical term. The lighting he chooses for each planet we visit was a cool addition to the feel of the flick. The Moon had a certain tranquilness and Mars had a dreamy rage to it. Its a fasinating study in lighting. It has your standard 2.39:1 aspect ratio so I wouldn’t be lining up for that Imax viewing but it would surely add to the spectacle. Probably has that Imax sound though so...
Soundtrack: Max Richter composes a standard cosmic score that I have to say I liked very much. Its just, well, I heard this one before you know? Its original, don’t get me wrong and there are some tracks that are great. Actually, it fits the flick perfectly. So whats the problem really? I don’t know. It just struck me as a “insert sci-fi soundtrack here” kind of thing. Bet if I saw this flick at a AVX I may be singing another tune. So my suggestion is see it with a friggin bitchin’ sound system!
Directing: This is the first flick I’ve seen with director James Grey at the helm and I got to say he’s pretty friggin good. This is an art house flick that the masses can enjoy and not be intimidated by. Its not an overly challenging flick for myself to unpack but it may have the casual film goer looking up at the stars and going “whoa! Space man...” Not to say the casual movie attendee is stupid but compared to my gifted mind they’re practically subhuman. Back to Grey though, he understands the subject matter of the flick and doesn’t beat around the bush with abstract thought but rather uses abstract imagery to craft his vision. There are times the film seems unbalanced though but I think that has more to do with studio involvement trying to make this a block buster when it just needs to be a nice space story about family.
Acting: Well surprise surprise Brad Pitt knocks it out of the park again! And you know what? I think he might be calling this one in a bit, but Pitt calling one in is an award winning performance anyway so we could say he never calls it in. He brings a sadness to the roll of the oddly tortured McBride. Its not his best performance but its still wicked. Tommy Lee Jones adds to this sadness and although he doesn’t have much screen time he has this presence through out the film that is haunting. I’m puzzled by Sutherlands character though and I think maybe Sutherland was as well or maybe it was cut all weird because it just didn’t work for me at all. Negga’s performance is spectral without special effects. Thats pretty cool.
Writing: Oh jeez. Narration. You know how I feel about that and in this flick its totally unnecessary as Ethen Gross and James Grey create a plot device that would explain all the narration away! And they still used it! That blows my mind! The plot is a bit disjointed as the flick struggles in the first half to find what kind of story they’re telling. By the last half though it finds its groove and we are treated to a very sad story about father and son. Its wholly unique in this way as we aren’t treated to a sad sci-fi often. All struggles aside its a well intended script that maybe just needed another pass. Narration aside, I really dug the script so can’t really complain all that much.
7.5/10 Watch out for those space monkey bro!!!