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Ad Astra

‘Ad Astra’ puts a new spin on the father/son dynamic. Family relationship films have been around almost since the format was invented. Making such a well-worn trope feel fresh is a challenge most movies have attempted. ‘Ad Astra’ sets its familial drama in space, with the solar system a witness to personal issues. Made compelling due to fine performances, it charts a course towards consistently engaging viewing.

Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is an Astronaut travelling the depths of the solar system. His mission is to find his missing father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones). En route, he discovers several secrets threatening Earth’s survival. Attempting to save his home world from destruction as well as reuniting with his dad, Roy puts his life on the line with chances of survival slim.

Directed by James Gray, ‘Ad Astra’ is an interesting exploration of past regrets and determination. Portrayed with his usual stoic skill, Pitt embodies many realistic qualities in his role. McBride is a man tortured by his father’s previous and present actions. How he overcomes his issues enables him to complete his mission and sort out his life. Pitt gives a fine performance as does Jones, in a rare sympathetic role.

‘Ad Astra’ doesn’t always work as it often repeats much of its central premise. But the overall themes are captivating as is the fantastic cinematography. Whilst all obviously done via CGI, the outer regions of space look spectacular. These sequences enable you to fully immerse yourself into McBride’s situation along with several genuinely tense action scenes.

Although it can be slow, ‘Ad Astra’ rewards the viewer with its dense script. Pitt’s magnetic presence enlivens such glacial moments with much emotional heft. Stories featuring fathers and sons will never fade with this current take managing to reach out from its star studded vistas.

Rating out of 10: 7

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