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Ciné Sunday: Ad Astra

James Gray

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.

"Serious, vividly detailed and thrilling sci-fi on a huge scale."

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 leadRoy 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.

Films about space and questions about the nature of our existence have long gone hand-in-hand, and Ad Astra is the latest addition to this deep tradition. 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.