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'Ad Astra' review: A solid, character-driven space journey

Movie Reviews

‘Ad Astra’ review: A solid, character-driven space journey

Ad Astra is a journey to the stars well worth the watch.

Ad Astra is quite the journey. This film was not at all what I was expecting from the trailers, and I’m actually glad. My expectations were exceeded and I really like both the story that’s told and the way they tell it. I hope Brad Pitt gets the attention he deserves for his lead performance here because wow…. he captains this film so well. The performances, the exceptional writing, and the well timed pacing all conspires to create a great movie going experience.

I want to begin with the all star cast and their strong performances. Brad Pitt, who I’ve always loved both as an incredible actor and just a fine looking man, really gives this his all. Pitt offers up a truly show stopping performance, which is all together necessary for this film. While there are important supporting characters and a detailed plot for support, Ad Astra is very much a character study. I love that this film mainly revolves around Brad Pitt’s character because he makes for a very interesting person to follow around and get to know. Tommy Lee Jones is the second most important cast member here and I was thoroughly impressed with his performance as Pitt’s father. Jones plays the very unique role seemingly with ease. I loved what they did with Jones’s character… one of the many interesting plot details.

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'Ad Astra' review: A solid, character-driven space journey
Brad Pitt stars in Ad Astra

Donald Sutherland shows up in the beginning and is good like always. It was nice to see him play a role that wasn’t sickeningly evil like in the Hunger Games saga. The only aspect having to do with the cast that I wasn’t a huge fan of was that Liv Tyler’s part in this is very miniscule. I understand why her role was small but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more of her. The writing is something really special. Sometimes scripts come along that just make you feel something and that is definitely true here. The script lays out a space expedition with stages. Each stage introduces new characters and new revelations about Pitt’s characters journey. Even though some may consider this film to be a slow burn or overlong, I never felt bored or like it was taking too long. I was constantly engaged throughout due to the intriguing storytelling. Questions are raised, big questions like are we alone in this vast universe? Is there a such thing as aliens? And I found the answers Ad Astra gives to be quite interesting.

'Ad Astra' review: A solid, character-driven space journey
Brad Pitt as Roy McBride

I, of course, will not give away what those answers are, but suffice to say it’s different from other Hollywood space films and I like that they decided to shake things up. The focus on Pitt’s character and examining his past and flaws helps uplift the film as a whole and it provides an anchor. There’s a reason we learn so much about him as a person and it never feels grating or tedious because the details are developed so well. His connection with Jones, his father, is ever present throughout and the way all of that pans out is really powerful. The details involved with that will give you chills. I refuse to spoil anything but it gets interesting trust me. Pacing is another thing Ad Astra gets right. When you have a film with this much ground to cover and a runtime of over two hours, correct pacing is important. This is one of the best paced films I’ve ever seen. The transitions are seamless and just the right amount of time is given to each chapter. Lastly, the direction and cinematography is really stunning. Certain shots are bound to have you marveling at the screen, it’s all just a delight to look at.

So overall Ad Astra is a really great film. Inspired performances, exceptional storytelling, well timed pacing, and stunning cinematography all come together to make a solid film. So go ahead and give this one a shot this week! I can’t imagine you’ll regret it.

Ad Astra
Is it good?
Ad Astra is an exceptional space expadition film because of inspired performances and exceptional storytelling.
Brad Pitt
Tommy Lee Jones
Donald Sutherland
Exceptional storytelling
Stunning cinematography
Well timed pacing
Liv Tyler is underused
8.5
Great

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