AD Astra (James Gray – 2019) A

Set in the “near” future where space travel is much more advanced and safe. People can go to the moon on spring break. Of course there’s an Applebees there and a Subway. It’s all fascinating and the movie is quiet wonderful when it shows all that. The world building and everything on the periphery of the camera and main plot is just incredible. There’s even a cool chase and shoot out of sorts with moon pirates! It veers very successfully into horror territory at one point as well. After all that cool stuff though, I really enjoyed this film because it is an intimate and grand story at the same time. It’s like a mash up of 2001 and Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now. It is another outstanding performance by Brad Pitt playing Roy McBride and we are with him the whole time as he goes on a journey from earth to the Moon, Mars and beyond. He is a skilled and sharp astronaut whose father lead a mission to the far reaches of our solar system looking for intelligent life. Apparently his father (played by Tommy Lee Jones) is still alive and he’s messing with antimatter that can destroy all life on earth. Roy needs to reach out to him and get him to stop. He has not seen him in 16 years and there is no doubt part of him that needs closure. It’s a familiar story that is well executed. There is more here though. It’s a movie that asks big questions about our place in the universe. What if we are all alone? What if we are not? What does really matter?

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