Review Round Up: Ad Astra

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for this new science fiction film directed and co-written by James Gray.

The Guardian: **** “I wondered, just a little, if Pitt could have surrendered more to the emotions the film was invoking, or if the ideas underpinning the climax were a bit too familiar. But his performance anchors the whole movie: a still, calm centre with the pure physical ease and charm of an intergalactic Gary Cooper. The film is itself an almighty power surge.

The New Yorker: “Pitt’s performance is less a matter of duets than a series of onscreen solos, centered on the furious stillness of his face and its frozen evocation of volcanic passion and pressurized depths. He conveys the solidity and the opacity, the reverberant presence of classic-era movie stars, and does so below the skin, as well.”

Empire: **** “this film is beautiful: from the glistening cinematography to artfully celestial framing to the seamless visual effects (some shots use actual photos of the moon’s surface), it all looks real.”

The Independent: **** “It’s a testament to Pitt’s screen craft and charisma that he makes such an emotionally distant character so sympathetic and intriguing.”

The Telegraph: ***** “through an elegantly told, often staggeringly visualised classical adventure narrative, Gray’s film deconstructs the dogged ‘great man’ alpha-heroism glorified in Kaufman’s, as well as countless space blockbusters like it.”

BFI: “Ad Astra works hard to convince us it is narratively worthwhile to imperil all life in the universe in order for one guy to work through his daddy issues, but doesn’t let us join even the closest of dots for ourselves, making it a sometimes thrilling and always beautiful 2.7 billion-mile odyssey, in which somehow, there’s just not enough space.”

Time Out: **** “It’s often thrilling, occasionally improbable, sometimes confounding, but like its director, ‘Ad Astra’ is never bound by the gravitational pull of the ordinary. Strap in.”

Den of Geek: **** “clever sci-fi that’s chock-full of big ideas and human drama, painted on a huge canvas with every artistic department firing on all cylinders. Never mind to the stars – get thee to a cinema.”

The Wrap: “This film is brilliantly cast by Douglas Aibel (“After the Wedding”), with Jones delivering one of his best performances in years as a man so utterly dislodged from reality that he regards an unearthly abyss as his true home. He’s unforgiving, morose and terrifying at the same time.”

Hollywood Reporter: “This sci-fi spin on Heart of Darkness is a self-conscious movie about a self-conscious man, a dutiful son who’s increasingly aware of how out of place he feels — in the organization he works for and in his own skin.” *** “Ad Astra is enjoyable as a two-fisted action movie and as a hard sci-fi rumination. But, weighed down as it is by emotional baggage, it doesn’t quite get to the stars.”

Evening Standard: *** “it’s another great, awards-worthy performance from Pitt, much relied upon by the film’s director James Gray, who well understands that “the close-up is the greatest weapon of cinema”.”

Indie Wire: “The ending is abrupt, and Gray acolytes will know not to expect him to go for any full “Contact” emotional cheats, but the climactic beats ring true to the rest of this unforgettable film.”

Culture Whisper: **** “Any personal accolades for Pitt would come somewhat as a surprise, but on the whole, Ad Astra adds an intriguing, technically marvellous addition to James Gray’s filmography. As with First Man and Gravity prior, it feels a sturdy awards season candidate to look out for already.”

Ad Astra is out now in cinemas.

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