Damon reaches new heights in “The Martian”

By Adam Schalke

Every once in a long while, there comes a film where every last thing goes absolutely right.

At a time when our silver screens are dominated by superhero movies one half of the year and biographies the other, it is now, more than ever, that we seem overdue for a remarkable, true miracle of a movie to come out and inject new life into cinema. Fortunately, “The Martian” comes to do just that.

The story is of Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon), an American astronaut marooned on Mars after his crew and captain (a superb Jessica Chastain) mistake him for dead during a dust storm and head back for Earth. After satellite footage shows evidence of Watney’s survival, NASA and his crew conjure up a brilliant series of rescue missions to bring Watney home. Needless to say, this task is easier said than done.

While this is not the only “lost in space” film made in recent memory, “The Martian” is easily the best. It trades in “Gravity’s” pretentious minimalism and “Interstellar’s” theoretical physics musings for an excellent political thriller wrapped in a Castaway-like survival story.

It is also worth noting that the film has Neil Degrasse Tyson’s seal of approval for scientific accuracy.

With an excellent screenplay, a cast that is stuffed with award-winners and Oscar-nominees and a sublime balance of drama and humor, there simply is no fault to be found with “The Martian.”

five out of five torches

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