Starring: Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain
Director: Ridley Scott
Running Time: 144 mins
The Martian is an American film about an astronaut, presumed dead during a botched Mars mission by NASA, who is found to be alive, and alone, on the red planet. Following this discovery, he must work to stay alive for an indefinite time period before he can be rescued.
This is a hugely exhilarating, entertaining and captivating film. With top performances from everyone in the stellar ensemble cast, beautiful direction from Ridley Scott, a consistently intense plot and a great sense of humour, this is such an enjoyable movie to watch.
So, let’s start with the most pleasing part of this film: the fact that Ridley Scott is really back on form. The man who made classics like Alien and Blade Runner should never have lost credibility in the way he has done in recent years thanks to a string of very poor-performing films, but The Martian is a timely reminder why Scott really is one of the all-time greats of directing.
The Mars landscape in this film is one of the most beautiful and pristinely shot I’ve ever seen on the big screen, effortlessly drawing you in and convincing you so well. In effect, this film literally transports you to another world, as this man’s terrifying ordeal on a planet millions of miles away from Earth is just so incredibly captivating.
Following on from that, the performances here are all very impressive. Matt Damon is fantastic in the central role, brilliantly combining his character’s clear fear of the situation as well as his maverick, upbeat attitude to everything, which makes him an absolute joy to watch.
Alongside Damon, there is a plethora of A-listers, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Michael Peña and Kate Mara, and all of them are excellent. Everyone puts in an energetic show that corresponds perfectly to this film’s brilliant blend of intense emotional drama and hilarious comedy.
Seriously, this film is really funny, and although the level of humour never detracts from the intensity of the plot, the fact that there is often such a light-hearted vibe to it all (helped from time to time by a bizarre but oddly perfect 70s soundtrack) makes it such an enjoyable film to watch, adding to the excitement of the story all the more.
So, now the story. This is yet another piece of this movie that works sublimely, as the screenplay is filled with fascinating dialogue throughout, and the overall premise of the plot is hugely enticing.
Based on Andy Weir’s book, the story is always exciting, full of action and genuinely unpredictable suspense. It’s said a lot, but this film, more so than anything I can remember in recent years, is totally unpredictable. There is nothing that even gives you a whiff of whether Matt Damon will live or die in the end, and that is massively impressive.
Finally, the plot is also filled with great emotional drama. Again, it’s not so heavy that the movie loses its fun factor, but it really works well at certain points throughout, bringing incredible poignancy to such an entertaining film, so overall, I’ll give The Martian an 8.4.