(James Gray _ 2019)
- Eng -
The opening scene is already a peerless lens-craft. And it goes on until the end in a relishing celebration of infinite forms for your eyes only. That’s for the space. As for the time now: Gray elevates brilliantly to a soft and easy flow beyond mesure, the archaic time-ellipsis that “The Lost City of Z” unfortunately had to undergo. With “Ad Astra” he offers a space-travel free of any interruption, stunningly interpreted by Brad Pitt’s minimalist masterpiece, whose neutrality in “Once upon a time in Hollywood” had left hungry for more. We indeed perhaps had to get ready for more. In Ad Astra, “more” stands as well for “greater”.
It seems that filming space celebrates directors’ accomplishments. Following Kubrick’s initiative, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” - amongst others - brought the directors to a summit of their creation. With Ad Astra, James Gray has definitely risen his work to one of those inspiring tops.
He had only whet our appetite with his previous creation in Amazonia, drawing the quest of a man for an unfindable truth. In a most likely similar quest of the meaning of a man’s life, this time the hero search himself in space through the shadows of his father. For looking for oneself in another person's story would be one of the most tricking pieces of choice, our contained hero appears to be a perfect target for other people’s manipulations.
Here again the fascinating subtle interpretation of Pitt's ranks on tops. The first part of the movie showed an emotion-mastering hero, the second part makes him a dupe. But when Roy McBride (Pitt) comes to get it, letting go of all the lies, the movie takes then a third momentum that surprises the usual journey of any hero. There are 2 “Calls to adventure”(*) in this scenario, which keeps us holding to this slow-motion-fast-spinning-non-action-active-thriller movie.
Yes; no categorical would frame it, except the space, which itself has no limit.
So here you go; enjoy your own space.
Only beauty will remain.
(*) see "The Heros's Journey" of Joseph Campbell