Ad Astra (2019)

I have meant to review this movie for a while now, but I never knew where to start. Looking online at Rotten Tomatoes critics, they seem to think rather highly of this movie giving it a whopping 84%. The audience seem to disagree, with their rating being a lower 40%.

I have to agree with the audience I’m afraid. This movie combines a lot of elements that can grasp the attention of the audience: space, family reconnections, drama, gun fights on the moon, the desperation to seek out other life in our universe. Yet, with all these relatable or just fun aspects, the movie seems to fall flat.

Brad Pitt has had some incredible roles in his career, (see: Fight Club, Seven, Ocean’s Eleven, just to name a few) however, Ad Astra seems to take his talent and throw it into orbit. His character is bland and unlikeable, lacking emotion and character. I understand the point of Pitt’s character was that he is in fact a man who can control his emotion and remain calm under pressure, but people can lack emotion and stay calm yet still be interesting or gripping to watch. Pitt’s character made me want to turn off the TV and go to bed. The concept of a man being driven mad by the lonely world he found himself in would have been much more gripping had we even cared about the character, or knew who he could have been had he not lost his Father and gotten such an unhealthy hold on his feelings from a young age. 

I like a slow-burn movie much like the rest of you, however slow-burn is only successful when the ending has an impact. Yes, Pitt’s character found his Father and was subsequently abandoned by him again, but I had lost all pity for Pitt by this time. He had climbed aboard a ship he was told not to go on, killed everybody on it, to look sombre faced for a long journey which ended in him finding his deranged Father, losing him, and coming home to face apparently no repercussions for the deaths of the three astronauts who lost their lives for doing their job.

The ending feels empty and cold, we don’t feel like we watched Pitt’s character go through anything life changing because we didn’t know him before. Little flashbacks to a broken relationship do not teach us about the man, we can piece together he’s having a tough time with a wife or a girlfriend, we don’t truly know who he is, yet we’re expected to be happy when he goes back to her at the end of the movie? Why? Because the man got the woman back? Personally, as much as I always do love a happy romantic ending, in this case it felt silly and pointless.

The movie is beautiful to look at, that can’t be denied. The cinematography is stunning and really encapsulates the beauty of space on certain occasions. It’s just unfortunate that the movie can’t do this itself. A movie which involves an actual gun fight on the moon should be entertaining, I should be laughing or crying or yelling in some way. Instead I was throwing a blanket over my boyfriend who had fallen asleep not long after the strange baboon scene, and I was deeply jealous that it wasn’t myself who had fallen asleep. 

Don’t get me wrong, Pitt’s acting wasn’t too fault here, he worked with what he was given. It was what he was given that was dejected and tired and dare I say, boring. This movie is about a man with daddy-issues, and it’s set in space. And whilst I’m all for watching a man try to recover, or get over his sh*t, or deal with his mental health issues, the movie was created in such a way that Pitt’s ending was unbelievable and the points being made were lost in the strange creation happening around them. I would have been more interested in watching his Father’s breakdown and chaos ensuing when it started to look like perhaps we are the only living things in this universe. That was a story that would have been somewhat interesting.  

This movie is just like all the other movies with bad characters, writing and a lack of thought out plot, only its set in space and has a gun fight on the moon.

4/10

~ Becky

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