Director James Gray’s last film, The Lost City of Z, was a sprawling adventure which took audiences trekking into the unknown depths of the Amazon, and with Ad Astra he takes the next logical step, setting his sights on the ultimate frontier – space.
Brad Pitt plays Roy McBride, an astronaut whose father (Tommy Lee Jones) disappeared years ago on a mysterious mission into outer space. While Roy himself is on a mission on the edge of Earth’s atmosphere, a strange electromagnetic phenomenon, later dubbed the Surge, causes widespread power outages and plane crashes across the planet. This kicks off a chain of events which leads Roy on a dangerous expedition back into space, where he uncovers secrets that may lead to the truth about his father’s disappearance and threaten Earth’s very existence.
Gray has a knack for striking a balance between introspection and sweeping spectacle and with cinematography by Nolan collaborator Hoyte Van Hoytema (responsible for the imagery of Interstellar and Dunkirk, among others), incredible set-pieces and moments of heart-stopping tension reminiscent of Gravity, this is serious, vividly detailed and thrilling sci-fi on a huge scale.