The First Reviews For Brad Pitt's Ad Astra Are In, And They're Stratospheric

01 September 2019
Brad Pitt, Movie, Ad Astra, Space Odyssey, NASA, Tommy Lee Jones
Image: 20th Century Fox

The space odyssey is directed by The Lost City Of Z’s James Gray

While known to be relatively private and shy away from the accoutrements of fame, Brad Pitt has found himself in the spotlight of late. His work in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood has already seen critics rave about his performance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Receiving a standing ovation at Cannes, it seems the next awards season may be one in which Pitt’s name features regularly.

If the first reactions to the other major project in a big year for Pitt – namely Ad Astra – are anything to go by, it certainly will.

In the film, Brad Pitt plays an astronaut whose deadbeat dad, played by Tommy Lee Jones, has disappeared into the vast recesses of space following a routine mission. It seems clear that whatever Jones was sent up into space to do has gone awry, and is causing electrical surges to come rippling through the galaxy with a profound impact for those on Earth.

When NASA decides that the best person to make contact with Jones and bring him back to Earth is his own son, Pitt embarks on the mission.

The official synopsis reads: “Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.”

With its melancholy, sci-fi vibe, this looks like another tearjerker on the same page as Matthew McConaughey’s heartbreaking scenes in Interstellar. Sure, there are plenty of doleful stares, but Gray delivers on the action here with what appears to be a car chase taking place on the surface of the moon.

Gray said that he wanted to make a film that depicted space travel as realistically as possible, “and to basically say, ‘Space is awfully hostile to us.’ It’s kind of a Heart of Darkness story about traveling to the outer edge of our solar system.”

It would appear he's succeeded, with Empire commenting on the realistic, Futurama-esque depiction of future commercialised space travel it portrays. "This is a future that feels recognisably familiar and deeply plausible, a world in which space travel has become commercialised, normalised, and blighted by the same overpriced pillows as the budget airline. The wonder of space has been replaced by the mundanities and conflicts of Earth; the moon is a gaudy tourist trap and disputed territory," they write.

In a five-star review, The Guardian have also painted Ad Astra as a triumph. "It's an extraordinary picture, steely and unbending and assembled with an unmistakable air of wild-eyed zealotry. Ad Astra, be warned, is going all the way – and it double-dares us to buckle up for the trip," says Xan Brooks.

Particular praise has also been directed at Pitt, with some hailing his performance as one of his finest ever. "Pitt is on sensational form with the most mature, resonant performance of his career," wrote James Mottram of GamesRadar+, who speculated that this might be the film that earns Pitt a first acting Oscar. "[Pitt's] performance here is as grippingly inward and tamped down as his work for Tarantino was witty and expansive – it's true movie stardom, and it fills a star-system-sized canvas," said The Telegraph.

With its star-packed cast and famed director, Ad Astra seems fit to be the next blockbuster hitting our cinemas. Ad Astra is currently scheduled to hit cinemas on September 20, 2019.

Via GQ Australia