Brad Pitt wrestles with attractive clutter and empty cliché in Ad Astra
James Gray’s science fiction adventure film is visually exciting but falls short of expectations
To infinity and beyond. James Gray’s Ad Astra, set in the future, takes us to the planets and back with little Buzz Lightyear braggadocio, but with so much weighty rumination it would sink any believable spaceship.
The spaceships aren’t quite believable here. But for an hour they are capriciously compelling, even when hosting the trans-spatial soliloquies of Brad Pitt. He plays an astronaut sent to meet his dad — Tommy Lee Jones in the briefing photographs — who is “still alive, near Neptune” and the last survivor of a mission gone rogue.