Fifth about The Seventh

Ad Astra

Ad Astra: James Gray’s ponderous space adventure happens both within and without; the longest journey may actually be the internal one. Even as he presses on his obsessions, however, the main character bottles up his emotions (the rather fine performance of Brad Pitt allows some emotions to escape through the cracks); the result is a film that is emotionally distant. It is also a somewhat interesting intellectual exercise (questionable physics notwithstanding, but that is neither here nor there), about the relationship of mankind with God mostly. Tommy Lee Jones’ presence is subdued, as the general tone of the film asks. The film, edited by John Axelrad and Lee Haugen, is in no rush to get anywhere, emulating the long space journey at the center of the experience; they create a few exhilarating action sequences, but also linger frequently in the images captured by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema. His work is beautiful, making full use of color to accentuate the differences between each of the locations (realistically created by the production design and special effects teams). The sound design is appropriately muted, and Max Richter’s musical score follows the same cues.

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