Film Review: “The Martian” by Blade Brown
Let’s get right to it. The Martian, based off the novel of the same name is nothing short of spectacular. Ridley Scott delivers his best movie since American Gangster and Matt Damon gives his best performance since The Departed. While it could’ve been a big budget spectacle like “Gravity”, the movie is much more grounded than you’d expect. While the budget is still over 100 million dollars and the special effects are strong, the movie is anchored by its strong performances. From its lead and just as importantly, the supporting cast.
After a accident during a stom leaves his crew to assume he’s dead, Watney is left behind on the red planet only to awaken and realize he’s alone. After calculating how much food he has, he quickly realizes he must figure out a way to grow food so that he can survive until the next mission to Mars. Which unfortunately, isn’t for another four years. Another setback is, that the climate on Mars makes it impossible to grow food on the planet. Luckily, Watney is a brilliant botanist who is able to grow potatoes in the crew’s artificial habitat. To keep from going crazy, he records conversations to acknowledge his progress with things on the planet. Eventually, he’s able to contact NASA using a old probe that has been long left behind on the planet that he’s able to repair. Once establishing contact, NASA tries to find a way to get to him sooner, as they doubt he’d survive for four years on the planet.
The movie is Damon’s show, and he carries it all the way. Much like Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”, the bulk of the film is a solo act. Although we get a lot of scenes from characters on earth trying to come up with plans, the movie works best when its Damon alone on screen. The time he spends recording videos range from hilarious to hear breaking. And when he finally gets a open communication line to NASA, its funny to see how he snaps when they tell him something he doesn’t like. Its also funny too see how the crew at NASA responds to his rage. One scene in particular as they’re trying to figure out in what manner he would be saying something. The movie balances it’s emotion very well, and Damon is a good enough actor to make you believe he’s in the predicament he’s in.
As mentioned before, the supporting cast is all top notch. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Kate Mara (House Of Cards), Michael Peña (End Of Watch), Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones) & Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino (Community) lead the all star supporting cast and all give great performances, helping the movie be the great film it is. While a lot of credit should go to the source material, screenwriter Drew Goddard (The Cabin In The Woods) adapts an excellent screenplay, that I’m sure will get some award recognition.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Martian is a fantastic film. Its one of those movies that makes you feel like you took school a little more seriously. NASA is surely to have some candidates after the release of this movie. Its very rare that you get a blockbuster that encourages you to use your brain. Extremely entertaining, this is by far one of the year’s best movies.
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