Brad Pitt stars in James Gray’s ‘Ad Astra’
Fox and Disney
Imagine an interstellar version of Apocalypse Now, with the scope of 2001: A Space Odyssey along with the tone and inner monologue of a stereotypical Terrence Malick drama, and you have Ad Astra in a nutshell. James Gray’s visually dazzling and thematically rich outer-space action drama, complete with Brad Pitt’s second terrific starring performance in the less than two months, is a big-screen marvel unto itself. Yes, it’s naval gazing in the extreme. Yes, its big ideas about interpersonal interaction and toxic masculinity are highlighted with the brightest yellow highlighter imaginable. That said, it works as its own contemplative journey into the final frontier. Moreover, it’s a glorious piece of pure cinema, one worthy of being seen on the biggest IMAX, Dolby Vision or related PLF screen you can find.
In the near future, a rash of solar surges threatens life on Earth. Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is brought in and sent on a deeply classified mission to investigate these storms, allegedly coming from Neptune, and with Roy’s presumed dead father (Tommy Lee Jones) being blamed for the destruction. Clifford was sent to Neptune 29 years ago to search for signs of intelligent life, but he has been presumed dead for decades. U.S. intelligence believes that Clifford is alive and responsible for the calamities, so it recruits the son to try and contact the father. Roy is the best of the best, to the point where his composure makes him distant to everyone around him, but this