The Martian has come at a very appropriate time. Off the back the massive successes of space travel drama’s Gravity and Interstellar, The Martian continues a long line of excellent sci-fi films that have really re-established the genre. To add on top of that, comes the amazing news that flowing water has been found on mars. All this means that The Martian couldn’t have come out at a better time.
Ridley Scott’s adaption of Andy Weir’s novel, introduces the story on Mars, as a group of astronauts are caught in a storm and forced to abandon their mission. Botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by flying debris which destroys his comms and knocks him flying into the distance. The crew commence a search but determine Watney to be dead and are forced to leave him behind. Watney wakes up after the storm and realises is alone on Mars. His task now is to survive for four years until another manned mission can reach him, despite only having supplies to last a year.
Most of the film lies at Matt Damon’s door and his performance is excellent. You feel his excitement and his frustration. The supporting cast is also excellent, even in their short screen time, Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor being the standout. The one negative I did have was that Donaldo Glover’s caricature of the ‘simple genius’ seemed out-of-place and distracting.
I think for some the film may move slow, but that was part of its perfection. Everything makes perfect sense and Matt Damon’s cultivation is something that captures your attention. I enjoyed seeing his trials and tribulations, revealed in his successes and was distraught in his failures. The pay off comes in the ending of the film which is by far the most action packed moment in the movie. It’s incredibly tense and emotionally powerful.
It is a welcome return to form from Ridley Scott’s, whose recent work including Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Counsellor and Prometheus have disappointed. The cinematography is absolutely excellent and the structure is really perfect. The films jump about a lot but it isn’t anything but natural.
If you have any interest in science or space travel then you’ll absolutely adore this film. If you like a personal survival journey in the vein of Cast Away than this film is also for you. It comes very highly recommended to all audiences.