Dude Rates Movies

Ad Astra

Poster of the movie
James Gray (2019)
Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga
Monday 7 October 2019 AD

Brad Pitt plays an astronaut which is trained to be absolutely stoic in any situation. He does not panic. He does not fear. He analyses, reacts, overcomes™. As the movie progresses, cracks start appearing in this fortress of pragmatism, so we can peek at the emotions that lie beneath. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen to the movie itself, which is consistently cold and terribly distant to its main character, paradoxally to the fact that he occupies the screen most of the time.

I experienced exactly zero emotion while watching this movie. Pitt plays a silent and secretive character, a type of role that Ryan Gosling thrived in with Drive, Blade Runner 2049 or First Man, except that we don’t feel anything for Pitt. One reason for such disconnect is that many scenes are too pictorial and not immersive. Cinematography director Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk) produces many gorgeous shots, but they are edited in such a clip-esque way, along with the grandiose music of Max Richter, that many scenes felt like attempts at cinematic poetry rather than actual scenes you can follow the main character in and therefore identify with him. This kind of symbolic narration is clearly not my thing.

Overall I felt like the whole movie took itself way too seriously, as if its story, which is some illustration for Psychology 101, was particularly subtle or grand. The ridiculous physics at the end only confirmed my dislike for this mediocre sci-fi drama.