Ad Astra ★★★

Even heroes are fragile. On fathers and sons and science’s infinite quest to find a remedy to our loneliness in the universe. The main character’s daddy issues are oriented as existential malaise, the quest for his father is a quest for finding autonomy, the quest of his father for finding intelligent life, the same. Both of them are looking for home, only in different places. He sets himself free of his father’s sins and decides to live, his father sets himself free of his duties and decides to die, infinitly continuing his search for more than life had to give him. There is a duality between the son’s final acceptance of life in the format of family and the father’s inability to accept the surface of things, and this duality rests in the acceptance or denial of the incompleteness of being, and seems to embrace the son’s enlightenment of letting go of his father’s path in order to find his own (finding solace in love, life, humanity, banal things as Gray seems to suggest, letting go of ambitious, grandiose ideas in order to live what he portrays as a small life). This is very clearly a familiar drama disguised as a sci-fi, near abstract formally, all those shifting colors, projections, seemingly abandoned places, geography as an extention of the lonely soul, it has a very slow pace, many inflated psychological delves, an eerie soundtrack - this is a very lean film, and I say that not necessarily as a criticism, but as a formal characteristic, even considering its eventual action setpieces it still feels very moody and contained. I must confess Gray’s texts and ideas are way too self-centered and even pedantic for me to truly comply with, the voice over being particularly bad as Pitt’s character psychological dwellings couldn’t be more basic, but obviously his formal mastery manages for him to get away with some pretty weak dramatic constructions and this ends up a somewhat instigating experience. Gray’s most personal film to date, for better and for worse.