Review: The Martian
Take two Tom Hanks movies, Cast Away(2000) and Apollo 13(1995) and reset them on Mars having Ridley Scott directing Matt Damon and you get The Martian. In Cast Away you have Tom Hanks carrying the movie by himself (he is stranded on an island) and doing so well that I cannot understand why he did not win any acting awards that year. In Apollo 13 we have a compelling story of how courage, determination and intelligence can move mountains to save lives.
In The Martian Matt Damon is Astronaut/botanist Mark Watney stranded on Mars when a storm injures him and the rest of his team thinking him lost and dead leave the planet without him to avoid death themselves. But Mark is not dead. And the film takes us his journey of despair, then hope, inspiration and courage to try to survive when it is thought that a rescue would not be possible for 4 years.
We also see the journeys of the space crew trying to resolve their guilt with what has happened and then their own courage in the effort to rescue Mark. We see what the scientists and administrators of NASA and the JPL has to contend with to figure out how, or when or even if they can launch a rescue. Politics buts heads with astrodynamics. What can they do verses what should they do?
As with Tom Hanks in Cast Away, Matt Damon also carries the majority of this film. His portrayal of a good and smart man set adrift is compelling. We are immediately are engaged into his new lonely world and what he does to survive. I would be very disappointed if Damon is not at get nominated for some acting awards this year.
And there is humor. This is the humor that seems to come naturally, breaking the tension of very serious events. This keeps the film from getting to dour and self-important. Even though I would call this film a drama it is a very funny film (“I am literally the best botanist on the planet”). The rest of the supporting cast are all-stars (Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, to name just a few) are all a delight to watch.
So, I highly recommend this film and suggest you see it at the best screen you can. The visuals of the surface of Mars are breath taking. The acting is first rate and the story is compelling and uplifting.