September 20, 2019

Ad Astra is in theaters on September 20th, 2019.

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

Starting right from the very first scene I was impressed. It is filled with beautiful cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema (who has previously shot Interstellar and Her) and a great action scene. Now when I say the cinematography is something else, I really mean it. It feels like you are actually in space with no gravity. This is paired with some amazing scene transitions to really give you that floating feel. All of the (far too few) action scenes were done phonominally as well. Brad Pitt was fantastic as calm under pressure astronaute Roy McBride.

The audio design in this film was also top notch. Pairing perfectly with the beautiful score by Max Richter (who has composed Shutter Island and Morgan). But here is where the praise stops. While this film has a bunch of good ideas rolling for it, director James Gray (who has previously directed The Lost City of Z and The Immigrant) chose not to run with any of them. What we end up getting is a really nice build up for two acts, but everything falls apart in the third act. The mess of the third act also includes some terrible pacing issues that make the ending a struggle to get through. You start to realize that all the side characters with no life to them also don’t serve the plot. All of this with an overuse of voice over throughout the film just really stuck with me and had to be mentioned.

To conclude this rather short review, Ad Astra had so much going for it. The cinematography is stellar, Brad Pitt is great and we can’t forget the amazing soundtrack. But I really wish the director ran with some of those great opportunities, it could have been a much better film. I will recommend this film to any big space fan, but other than that this is worth a pass.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Cabell Cabell (Senior Contributor) is a filmmaker from Tampa, Florida. He will watch just about any film but when he's not reviewing the latest hits he spends time directing films of his own.
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