As science fiction cinema speaks more about the present than about the future, each generation has its own futuristic film, they normally mark us and make a big notice all around the world, if their plot (and effects) are good, because there's the natural and imminent human fear for the future, and normally these movies exploit this resource to catch the attention of the masses. Those born between 1900 and 1920 dreamed of the Metropolis robot and imagined that in the cities of the future the biplanes would cross elevated streets that would communicate buildings similar to those that were being built in New York. World War II ended all these fantasies, but the Baby Boomers imagined with Godard's Alphaville a future in which Alpha 60 would direct the destinies of humanity. Generation X, meanwhile, was moved by the speech of the Batty replicant, who was able to observe the brightness of the C-rays in the vicinity of the Tannhäuser Gate. Are some examples. There are hundreds. They serve to say that Ad Astra, by James Gray, is a work that calls to move Generation Z with its history of solitary confinement and solitude.
There are universal themes, of course, as in all good films: the Freudian desire to destroy the father, the adventure of the man who devastates himself to find the reasons why he was abandoned in childhood. Ad Astra tells the story of Major Roy McBride who plays, with an introverted air, Brad Pitt. The elder, an expert in successfully passing his psychological exams, one day finds out that his father, who knew in his childhood that he had lost himself in the mission to find intelligent life beyond our Solar System, is alive. And not only that. Our hero's father seems to be behind a series of attacks on earthly targets on the planets that humanity is recently colonizing. If this plot line starts to sound interesting to you, then watch now the movie.
In frank emulation of Charles Marlow looking for Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness, McBride travels to the borders of the Solar System to confront a parent who, on the other hand, seems as cold as the father in all Tarkovsky films, including Of course, Solaris. Thus, with something of Conrad and something of Tarkovsky, something of Stanislaw Lem and something of Francis Ford Coppola in Revelation now, Ad Astra is the portrait of a youth who right now, in our time, finds no reason to love herself. It is a generation to whom the universe is as small as the love of its elders. Ad Astra then questions the young man who can identify with McBride today, this man who is looking for his father on the other side of the Solar System not to kill him or reconcile with him, but, more simply, to ask why didn't you love me? McBride's father is a crazed Tommy Lee Jones who has no regard to tell him that there are more important things than filial love. Science, for example, watch online the movie if you want to understand better.
Ad Astra is the work of a generation that portrays at this time all the teenagers who have today, at their fingertips, on a cell phone, the world culture: the science of the world. And yet they don't know what to do with it. It is obvious, therefore, that it is not a movie for everyone. There will be those who find in this work excessively long scenes and extremely elaborate dialogues, but Ad Astra is addressed to all those who have meditated on Fermi's paradox and have asked themselves: if there are so many possibilities that there are other worlds, where the hell are they? ? Why does our life feel so lonely, as lost as this man who faces the monstrous stars and the infiniteness of his own loneliness?