Ben Oliver

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Ad Astra

That’s what almost killed you.
21 September 2019

In the near future, an astronaut (Brad Pitt) is sent on a mission to Neptune to destroy an experiment gone wrong that was set up by his father. As it becomes a real possibility that his father may still be alive, he must face up to his personal fears as well as the dangers of space.

A largely quiet, contemplative look at the loneliness of an astronaut. While it sometimes feels futile to speculate on technology that doesn’t yet exist, Ad Astra gives a plausible take on the impact of long distance space travel on the human psyche.

Brad Pitt acts like he was born in a space suit, capturing that dialled-in John Glenn style of astronaut. He delivers a powerful performance despite the constraints of such a cool, calm and collected character.

This goes hand-in-glove with James Gray’s sparse and introspective method of storytelling. It’s a story driven by character and visuals, merely punctuated by action. The end result is a beautiful, quietly passionate space epic that lets you draw your own conclusions.