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Why are you suing your parents? For giving me life? After being jailed for committing a violent crime, Zain, a mistreated 12-year-old boy, sues his parents for giving him life. Zains large family live hand to mouth in a squalid apartment in Lebanon. The kids work instead of going to school. When Zains 11 year old sister is sold into marriage, he flees the family home in search of a better life. He is taken in and lovingly cared for by an illegal Ethiopian worker, Rahil, who lives in a shanty house with her baby. But when Rahil disappears, Zain is suddenly left to fend for himself and her baby, resorting to increasingly desperate measures to survive. Director Nadine Labaki (Where Do We Go Now?) cast non-professional actors from displaced backgrounds similar to their characters, resulting in authentic and extraordinary performances. Review of Capharnaum by Eddie @ The Movie Guys As a word of warning, when it comes to Ad Astra, dont believe the trailers. If you have seen James Grays long gestating sci-fis trailers/ads youd be expecting an action packed Sci-fi odyssey and while theres action and thrills to be found in Grays Brad Pitt starring adventure, Ad Astra is first and foremost a contemplative character study and examination of parental bonds, that just so happens to have eye capturing space scenery for it to play out in. Grays film takes us to the Moon (featuring a thrilling vehicle chase), Mars and Neptune, while opening with a stunning high atmosphere maintenance job gone wrong that is worth the price of a cinema ticket alone but Gray and his on form A-lister are more concerned with exploring the inner workings of Pitts stoic and potentially emotionally void astronaut Roy McBride, who has been pulled into a universe spanning mission to unlock the mystery around his father H. Clifford McBrides disappearance while on a life-altering space voyage. Roy McBride is a layered character, a man who has never shown nerves or usual human inhibitions as he undertakes his various dangerous tasks, but a man none the less shaped and formed by his fathers disappearance and quest and through both Pitts at times understated yet beautifully formed turn, McBride becomes one of the years most memorable cinematic creations and a chance for Pitt to remind us all that his one of the very best performers working in the industry today. There may be others listed on the cast list of Ad Astra such as Donald Sutherland, Ruth Negga, Tommy Lee Jones and the may as well have not shown up Liv Tyler as McBrides estranged wife Eve but make no mistake about it, this is Pitts film, with the star appearing in virtually every scene, often with DOP Hoyte Van Hoytemas camera formed somewhere close to the actors face (giving off similar vibes to last years First Man). This allows Pitt to produce one of his most memorable lead turns and he gives Ad Astra an added power that may not have been there with someone else filling McBrides weighty space boots and on the back of his Oscar worthy supporting turn this year in Once Upon a Time InHollywood, 2019 has become quite the year for Pitt, who in the previous years has taken more of a backseat role in proceedings rather than an in front of camera one. As McBrides deep space quest (that hearkens back in theme and events to cinematic behemoth Apocalypse Now) takes him further and further into the darkness of the unknown both externally and internally, we are witness to an emotionally charged and personally fulfilling life-shaping experience that is carefully portrayed by Gray and through Pitts inner monologues, that provide us with an insight into a man slowly but surely coming to terms with who he is and what is important to him. Ad Astras space-mission with a difference isnt all smooth sailing as the film suffers slightly from pacing issues early on that take a while to get use to, the films somewhat anti-climactic finale feels like it couldve been reworked for maximum efficiency, while a word of warning to those cinematic scientists out there that found Interstellars scientific flaws too much to overcome, Ad Astra has ample holes to be found in its space science that arent even trying to be hid, so if thats a game changer, give Grays film a very wide berth. Final Say Mass audiences may not be ready for Ad Astras more intimate approach to the space epic, that may cover a lot of genre staples but in a way we have yet to see utilized before but for those that connect with Roy McBrides more personal experience with the great beyond that ponders the questions of mankind and its inability to overcome its flaws, Ad Astra will become one of the years most memorable original outings that features an awards worthy Pitt as its centrepiece. See more from The Movie Guys on their website
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