FILM REVIEW - THE MARTIAN
Directed by Ridley Scott.
Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Astronaut.
Left for dead on Mars, without any hope of rescue or method of communicating with Earth, botanist astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) gets stuck in to the business of not dying one problem at a time. Worse still, the only playlist available on the laptop is all disco. Bugger indeed.
Alternately titled “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Astronaut” (or “Mars… What is it good for?”) Damon is flawless as the can-do all-American Watney. He carries the bulk of the movie through sheer charisma; there’s a refreshing lack of wacky robots and mawkish communiques to teary Earth-bound relatives (I’m looking at you, Interstellar). Ridley Scott doesn’t try to force his trademark style onto the film, because there’s simply no need. The narrative is compelling enough to sustain the two-plus hours.
The Martian is that rare case of a big-budget blockbuster that successfully manages to mix science fiction and science fact. It’s wholly satisfying and, more so than any of Scott’s movies in recent years, it works.