Archive: The Martian (2015) A Review

A thoughtful film by Sci-Fi hard Hitter Ridley Scott, that came out around the time when a lot of cerebral Sci-Fi films were being produced.  And does a fantastic job!

Certificate: 12A

Director: Ridley Scott

Screenwriter: Drew Goddard (screenplay by), Andy Weir (based on the novel by)

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure

Runtime: 144 Minutes

Rating: 5 STARS

Reviewed by: Pearl

After a severe storm, a mars exploration team is forced to abandon their settlement.  During their evacuation, a member of their team is lost in the storm and presumed dead.  However Mark Watney is very much alive.  And while he waits for scientists back on earth to figure out a way of getting him home, he has to figure out how to stay alive long enough to be rescued.

Holy moley guys, this was fantastic.  This film was released in the middle of a slew of films along a similar vein.  Films like ‘Interstellar’, ‘Moon’ and ‘Gravity’ and I at best was completely neutral towards all those films, so I wasn’t expecting great things when presented with this offering.  But I am overwhelmingly happy to announce that this movie bloody smashed it and may now be one of my top five favourite films of all time.

Lets start by looking at it’s fantastic cast.  And this cast is stacked!! It has more famous faces then you can shake a stick at and they all do a fantastic job.  All the characters have great personality and are delivered brilliantly, particularly all the characters on board the spaceship, Mark Watney included.  In a film with a plot like this it would have been so easy to take everything very seriously and weigh heavy on the motional side, like ‘Interstellar’ did.  But Ridley Scott and the writers of this film were careful to make all the characters likeable, and more importantly, humorous.  So that this film, with it’s very doom filled premise at times was actually pretty funny.

Matt Damon did a stand up job.  I have only ever really seen him in over the top action films where he doesn’t get a chance to show much personality or talent, so for me this was a great show of that talent that people have been raving about for years.  Emotional when needed, funny when needed, and suitably sarcastic when necessary, he does a great job of portraying a suitably human response to a life altering disaster.

This didn’t make me feel stupid.  Which it would have been easy to do, and films like ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Arrival’ have done plenty, instead, although there is a lot of science thrown around, it does so in a way that is easy to follow, so by the time they are throwing figures around, working out how close they need to get to rescue Mark from a Spacewalk, you are just as tense as they are, because you feel you understand the choices they have to make.  Distancing the audience with too much technobabble would have made this level of empathy hard.

And empathy really is the key here.  You are really drawn into Marks world, regardless of how small and barren it has become.  You are happy when he is happy, angry when he is angry, you cry when he cries.  Trust me I cried a whole lot at the end of this film.

Fantastically written and beautifully shot and directed, if you haven’t seen this film already I highly, HIGHLY, suggest that you get round to it.  The Martian is available to stream on Netflix UK now!

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