Arts & Entertainment

“Ad Astra” Review

This film is an interesting, albeit inconsistent, movie which has a unique take on the space adventure genre.

By Scott Wood, Staff Writer/Artist

I recently saw Ad Astra and it was … something. Brad Pitt plays the dark and brooding Roy McBride, a space technician sent across space to find his long-absent father.

 If I had to use one word to describe this movie, it would be lopsided. The first two acts of this film play out like a typical space action-adventure movie with light elements of the existential, but the third act takes a sharp left turn and fully submerges itself into the arthouse genre, becoming much heavier in its existential tone. This shift is sudden and it gave me a severe case of filmgoer’s whiplash. 

My main gripe with this film would have to be the way it conveys information to the audience. This movie deals with the psychological complications of being in space for so long, but it handles this nuanced subject with a lack of subtlety. 

One of the first things you’ll notice if you go to see this movie is Brad Pitt’s voiceover narration. This narration never really goes away, and it becomes quite tiresome, especially since the movie uses this narration so frequently. I would say that the longest stretch of film that was not interrupted by Brad Pitt’s gravelly voice was around 20 minutes long, but it averaged to be around 4-minute gaps between narration. Never have I wanted to scream “Shut up!” to a character in a movie theater before, but alas, Brad Pitt insists on spoonfeeding the viewer his current feelings about whatever situation he is in instead of simply letting the viewer watch the movie

Tiresome narration aside and inconsistency aside, this film is really shot quite beautifully. Some shots even reminded me of a Stanley Kubrick movie. Accompanying the visuals is the score, which manages to creatively convey the silence and emptiness of space without ever getting overbearing. 

Overall, this film is an interesting, albeit inconsistent, movie which has an interesting take on space adventure genre. While not really offering much appeal to the average moviegoer, this film does offer much to anyone who wants to watch something wholly different. 

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