The Ultimate Trip: Ad Astra is a Visually Stunning Experience
Movie proves Gray is still one of the best visual storytellers in the industry
Director James Gray's last film The Lost City of Z was a fascinating journey into the unknown. With his newest film Ad Astra, he goes even deeper into the unknown, to the farthest reaches of space, and on the way, he gives us a harrowing and powerful trip into the human soul and one of the most beautiful science fiction films of recent memory.
In the near future, mysterious power surges from space could threaten all life on planet Earth. Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is called up to undergo a mission to Neptune which may lead to the origins of these phenomena as well as evidence of his father's (Tommy Lee Jones) last mission which disappeared decades ago. As he searches for clues to the mission's disappearance, McBride begins to learn that there is more to his journey than he originally thought.
Like all of the best science fiction, the film is mostly concerned with character and emotion rather than big-budget spectacle. We slowly travel through a world where space travel has become a common thing (the images of the Moon as a tourist attraction are especially striking). The film is also filled with a haunting atmosphere and incredible imagery, proving that Gray is still one of the best visual storytellers working today. When the action does happen, it is tense and exciting, but he never lets that get in the way of the human story: one of loneliness and obsession set in the furthest reaches of mortal experience. Ad Astra never lets its amazing visual splendor detract from its real human drama. — Forest Taylor
Directed by: James Gray // Written by: James Gray and Ethan Gross // Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, Jamie Kennedy, John Ortiz, Greg Bryk, Kimberly Elise, Loren Dean, John Finn, Anne McDaniels, and Donald Sutherland // 124 minutes // Rated PG-13