October 4, 2015

On Mars

The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015). The prolific (too prolific?) Ridley Scott brings an unusually light touch to Drew Goddard’s tightly-written and entertaining screenplay about Matt Damon’s resourceful stranded astronaut. After Gravity and Interstellar, Scott’s brisk film is less about the deep loneliness of space isolation than the positive values of problem solving and their potential for global togetherness. When a Bowie song hits the soundtrack, it’s not “Space Oddity” but “Starman”, with its uplifting singalong chorus and “Over the Rainbow” melody. It’s a tough movie to dislike and may even be, somehow, the funniest film of Scott’s career. Nasa loves it and no surprise: with its use of documentary approaches, it even tricks you that you’re watching a precise dramatisation of the space agency’s greatest, most humane hour.