Run time: 124 MINS

Director: James Gray     

Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler

Synopsis: Astronaut Roy McBride travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.


Directed by James Gray [Little Odessa (1994),We Own the Night (2007), Two Lovers (2008), The Immigrant (2013), The Lost City of Z (2016)] in a story co-written with Ethan Gross, Ad Astra is set in the near future and focuses in on Major Roy McBride, insightfully played  by Brad Pitt, as an astronaut selected to voyage to the furthest reaches of the solar system. His mission is to track down his missing father Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who left Earth and his wife and son 27 years earlier to search for intelligent life in the universe.

It is now 16 years since Clifford reached Neptune with the ‘Lima Project’, and mysteriously since then there has been only radio silence. However, in recent weeks, power surges from an unknown source deep in space have been hitting Earth and threatening all humanity, a condition vividly demonstrated in a stunning opening sequence.

Data suggests that Roy’s father may still be alive, and SPACECOM’s only hope is that his son, Roy, might be the person to reach him or bring him back home.

The vast, enthralling wide shots of deep space, offset by mesmerising close-ups of Pitt’s handsome face as he contemplates his life, are enhanced by an evocative subtle score from Max Richter, and brilliant images from cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, [Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017)]. It all makes for a multi-sensory thrilling journey.

Ad Astra has a stellar cameo cast that includes Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland and Liv Tyler, but it is Brad Pitt’s convincing and compelling Roy McBride that shines brightest, as an internalised, ice cool but vulnerable man on the edge, who is focused but also desperately trying to make sense of his relationship with his father.

The film takes a visually thrilling journey through the vast reaches of space, while charting an ambitious course towards the heart of the bond between parent and child. It even features exciting encounters with moon pirates and a space baboon.

Ad Astra is an interesting addition to the futuristic cinema of outer space, with strong echoes of many classical themes and also Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Images courtesy of FOX