The Martian

"Excellent"

The Martian Review


Just as people began to write off veteran director Ridley Scott after a series of merely OK movies, the 77-year-old casually releases his most entertaining film in years. This sci-fi adventure is lithe, humorous, thrilling and genuinely moving. In other words, it's one of Scott's best films, mixing eye-catching visuals with a story that resonates with both emotion and deeper meaning. And it's also a lot of fun.

In the very near future, the first manned mission to Mars is caught off guard by a sudden storm. With their ship in danger, Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) orders the crew to evacuate, but in the chaos botanist Watney (Matt Damon) is knocked away and presumed dead. As Lewis and her team (Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie) begin the long trek back to Earth, Watney wakes up alone on Mars and understands that he will need to survive until the next mission arrives in four years' time. But his habitat is only designed to last for 30 days, so he has a lot of work to do. Eventually, he thinks of a way to get a message back home to Nasa, letting them know he's alive. Now the experts (including Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean and Kristen Wiig) must figure out a way to rescue him before he runs out of food and water.

The story plays out on three fronts: with Watney using his expertise to survive, Lewis and her crew on their long journey back home, and the Nasa officials mounting a rescue mission. All three plot-strands are riveting, using convincing science to explore the conundrum while cranking up the emotional urgency of the situation. Intriguingly, the script never gives Watney a family back on Earth to sentimentalise things; the film simply doesn't need that. And Damon more than holds the audience's sympathy. He's funny, smart, tenacious and thoroughly identifiable, the kind of person we wish we would be in the same situation.

Chastain gets the film's other layered role as a leader with a series of very difficult decisions to make. And there's just enough detail to the supporting roles to allow the unusually strong cast to make each one feel like a fully fledged person with a private life of his or her own. Meanwhile, Scott and screenwriter Drew Goddard pack the film with astounding set-pieces that are visually inventive and grounded in both human behaviour and the laws of physics (unlike the similarly themed Gravity). And it's the film's edgy sense of humour that gives it an extra kick, adding wonder and suspense to both the quiet drama and the bigger action moments. 

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The Martian here:




The Martian

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd October 2015

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Scott Free Productions, Mid Atlantic Films, International Traders, Genre Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 9.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , , Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood

Starring: as Mark Watney, as Melissa Lewis, as Beth Johanssen, as Teddy Sanders, as Venkat Kapoor, as Rick Martinez, as Alex Vogel, as Chris Beck, as Annie Montrose, as Mitch Henderson, as Rich Purnell, as Mindy Park, as Ryoko, Lili Bordán as Blair, Gruffudd Glyn as Jack, as NASA psychologist, as Brendan Hatch, Dilyana Bouklieva as Police Woman, Szonja Oroszlán as Launch Control, Nikolett Barabas as Reporter 1, Karen Gagnon as Reporter 2, Mark O'Neal as Guidance, Brian Caspe as Timer Controller, Nick Mohammed as Tim Grimes, James Fred Harkins Jr. as Pathfinder developer, Björn Freiberg as Nasa Staff Member, Scott Alexander Young as Pathfinder 2

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