Ad Astra, A Psychological Melodrama That Shoots Beyond the Stars

Ad Astra is a riveting melancholic experience through the void of space as Brad Pitt maneuvers the void not just outside of his ship but in his mind too.

CREDIT: Francois Duhamel/20th Century Fox

In his newest directorial effort since 2016, James Gray ventures into the corners of a man’s psyche as he deals with his mission to rescue his absent father portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. Brad Pitt plays the main character, Major Roy McBride who is contacted to go and rescue his father who is in the remnants of the “Lima Project.” Now why is this so important? Well, as it seems these surges threatening the Solar System seem to be coming from around that area. After learning about the truth of the history of the project, Major McBride decides that he is the only one who can go for his father.

If you are walking into this film expecting a spectacle like Gravity, Interstellar, or 2001: A Space Odyssey then you are walking into a completely different film from those three. James Gray constructs a film where the characters are at the forefront and the void of space is the backdrop. This distant void is what allows for Major McBride to explore the various feelings that are going through his head as he reaches closer and closer to his father. I am a huge fan of Brad Pitt’s performance in this film that with every word spoken there is an underlying sense of melancholy to Major McBride, and once he does get to his father the both of them work so well off each other.

An aspect of this film that is so interesting is the commercialization of space travel which is an aspect about space colonization that has not been explored. It really gets the mind thinking that maybe this is the most accurate possibility of how space travel will work. Maybe once we colonize the Moon we will throw a McDonald’s up there, and at least the zero gravity will cut construction costs for a play area. Other than the incredible performance, writing, and direction the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema is incredible and I feel like that statement inside of itself is an understatement. I was so blown away by this aspect that I am throwing a lock in for Oscar nominations and Hoyte Van Hoytema will one hundred and ten percent will be nominated for this picture.

Ad Astra is my favorite movie of this year so far and have not been this surprised by a film since 2018’s Hereditary. If you are looking for an incredible psychological space venture then this is the film to see this weekend.

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