The Martian (2015)
Ridley Scott is a great film Maker, one of my most favourite. His last dalliance with space ‘Prometheus’ was a huge disappointment. In Prometheus, the cinematography was glorious, but both the story and the science were dubious. So it was with no small amount of fear that I went to see The Martian. This is very different. Everything that was wrong with ‘Prometheus’ is right with ‘The Martian’. A great start to the October 2015!
I wanted to find the perfect adjective for The Martian, but the truth is there are too many. Matt Damon is superb as the lead. The visuals are absolutely stunning. The science is accurate. The characterisation is light and believable. Incidental music from ABBA , Bowie, Gloria Gaynor and others is predictable, but fits perfectly. The performances of the supporting cast are crisp and relevant. Even a cameo from Shaun Bean, which could have been just padding, added to the ensemble.
The Script is remarkable too. The film is long, but seems to fly past, and in a strange contradiction, the story requires that time passes slowly. I’m not sure how that worked- but it really did. For a film about heroics there are no ‘cardboard cut out ‘ heroes. Equally there are no ‘baddies’, not even the head of NASA who, for a while, looks corporate and cynical. Mars is Glorious, majestic, occasionally violent but never malevolent. One might be tempted to describe the movie a feel good movie, and this is true in a pure sense, but there are none of the usual clichés. There is no ‘saccharin sweetness’. There is no ‘apple pie and the flag’. There is no ‘we humans are special’. There is no ‘message from the sponsors (apart from Heinz Ketchup)’.
This is a great film. Even though some of the scenes might be described as derivative, with huge nod to ‘Apollo 13’ for example, it is all done so well that all is forgiven. When ranking movies in my personal top fifty I always prefer to wait for a year or so before commit to my list, but this goes straight in. Nearly 24 hours after watching, I am still thinking about it. I smiled, I laughed, I hoped, I tapped my foot, I cared, and I almost cried(with joy). To be honest I can’t quite figure out what makes it so special, but special it is. On many levels, this beautiful film.
There – That is adjective that I was trying to find. The Martian is a Beautiful Film. Ridley Scott is a genius!
Review by ManIntheBlackHat