Jojo Catbagan’s review published on Letterboxd:
AD ASTRA? More like RAD ASTRA. Oh my god... Truly one of the best films I have ever seen. Ad Astra is stellar. Pun intended. James Gray fucked around and made his masterpiece with one of Brad Pitt’s greatest performances of his career. Accompanied by Max Richter’s grandeur musical score and all those stunning shots by Hoyte van Hoytema (big fan of his works— Her, Dunkirk, Interstellar). Ad Astra is PERFECT in every way. I AM IN TEARS. This is easily one of my favorite space movies!!! It’s every bit of Kubric’s 2001: Space Odyssey and FF Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Cuaron’s Gravity and as captivatingly beautiful as Nolan’s Interstellar— it’s drama but action-packed.
This film hits all the marks of a tour de force in classic filmmaking. It is a simple story of inner loss of a boy grown into a man and what the loss made of that boy, placed in space tech world. It’s a feat for any actor to hold an audiences attention, yet Brad’s performance mostly solo, seamlessly takes you along. He’s on screen so much that it'’s like he’a right next to you and that you can practically smell him and wipe his sweat off. Really. So it’s a story film, based on acting, set beautifully in space. Don't expect Star Wars or anything sci-fi battles and problem-solving (although this is really a sci-fi). It’s all pathos and empathy here and I tell you, IT’S GOOD.
The movie clearly opened my imagination on not only what space travel could do to the human psyche, but the effort and courage it would take for exploring the unknowns. Also, it displayed a good concept on how “bases” could be— on the moon and on Mars (favorite ko yung sa Mars!!), in the not too far future. This film will send you thinking and motivate your human imagination on how space exploration could most likely look like.... After viewing it. Or Imagining it from and off screen. Regardless, watch this film like if you were trying to comprehend and animated poem.