Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Martian [M]

A severe storm hits a team of NASA astronauts forcing them to abort their mission. One team member, Mark Watley is struck by debris and lost in the storm. Assumed dead, Mark regains consciousness to find himself stranded alone on a desolate planet. Now he must find a way to contact NASA as well as sustain himself on a lifeless planet in the hope that an international team of scientists can execute a near-impossible recue mission to bring him home. 

Like the atmosphere in outer space, The Martian has the ability to take one’s breath away. Ridley Scott’s science fiction ode to the strength of the human spirit is a captivating drama that stimulates all the senses and the emotional rollercoaster ride that it promises is nothing short of wonderful. Within the first fifteen minutes I was completely enthralled and at the end of just over two hours I cannot find a single negative to say about this movie. 

First I want to talk about the visual experience. With most of the action happening against the red and barren setting of Mars, one could easily fear that geographical monotony would become a problem. Not at all! 
The harsh lighting mixed with breathtaking, sweeping aerial shots of incredible desert landscape not only leave the mouth of the viewer hanging open out of an immense sense of awe, it also succinctly depicts the drama and desperation of the story without piquing feelings of danger or fear. It’s not like Wake In Fright where the arid Aussie badlands give you the feeling that you’re going to die, the landscape and cinematography of this movie just piques those feelings of the dire and forlorn to a level where there is still a sense of danger, but you are not frightened by it. 
Also too, it ensures that when a moment of accomplishment and happiness takes place e.g. a tiny little spout protruding from the earth, tears of joy spring to your eyes. Quite a lot of the emotions that you’re made to feel in this movie are achieved through its incredible cinematography and that’s what makes it breathtaking. 

Coupled with a captivating landscape and story is an equally captivating soundtrack composed by Harry Gregson-Williams. The instrumental score for this movie mixed with light-hearted disco tracks as well as some David Bowie is phenomenally powerful in stimulating emotional responses e.g. tears, laughter, sharp intake of breath and a fair portion of the enjoyment must be attributed to it. 

Then we have the Oscar-nominated performance from Matt Damon. One could easily depict the story of a tortured soul in desolate circumstances with a harsh and dramatic, even gritty performance, but Matt Damon opts for level-headed nonchalance and even humour. 
I think a major portion of the fear and danger of the landscape is taken away too by Matt’s ability to take it in his stride. Yes there is pain, anger, frustration, stubbornness, and even fear, but for the most part of the film Matt saunters through it with a nice and healthy layer of smart-arsery and a humour that is made sincere and more poignant through his journalist inflection and deadpan delivery; a bit like Bill Murray’s in Ghostbusters but with ingenuity and less sarcasm.
Immediately, Matt presents us with a very likeable character that we want to succeed and we are with him for every minute of screen time.

Starring Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Bate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Chiwitel Ejiofor, and Jeff Daniels, The Martian is a stunning film that tells an amazing story and delivers a wonderful viewing experience. Filled with drama, action, suspense, and comedy, I absolutely adored it!

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