The Martian Review

The Martian
  • Directing9
  • Writing9.5
  • Acting9
Overall9.2

The Martian in Ridley Scott's best film in years. Scott flawlessly directs Drew Goddard's exceptional script with wit and skill, while Matt Damon leads in a bold and fearless performance, backed up by a stellar ensemble cast. The Martian is smart, big and bold in ways that we haven't seen in quite some time.

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Ridley Scott‘s The Martian is 2015’s most important film and easily one of its strongest. Scott has honed in on a sharp script written by Drew Goddard (adapted from Andy Weir‘s book) that’s so forward-thinking and hopeful that it will leave you amazed and motivated. The Martian is lead by Matt Damon, but features an endless amount of talent thanks to its star-studded ensemble cast and Scott’s ability to carefully extract the right performances from each of his actors. The Martian is a film that’s both smart and entertaining, making you laugh one minute and borderline cry the next, because of its fully written characters and edge-of-your-seat suspense as one man faces one of the most impossible obstacles and yet never manages to accept defeat.

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) and his fellow NASA astronauts are stationed on Mars, collecting samples and getting ready to head home when suddenly a storm hits and causes the crew to evacuate the planet in a rushed panic. Things go wrong and Watney is assumed dead and accidentally left alone on the red planet as the rest of the team starts their long and sad journey home.

But somehow Watney has managed to survive and now he’s stuck stranded on a planet with limited resources and only his wits at his disposal. He must somehow figure out a way to survive long enough for a rescue mission, which means growing enough food and producing enough water to keep him healthy enough to last until NASA figures something out.

The odds are extremely stacked against Watney, yet he digs deep down inside of himself to find that reserve of smarts and energy that it takes for one man to overcome all of the obstacles and return safely home to Earth.

Meanwhile, NASA reps back at home are forced to deal with the controversy surrounding his so-called death and sudden discovery of life, while the rest of his team is kept in the dark as they slowly make their way back to Earth.

The Martian is not only Ridley Scott‘s best film in years, but it’s also one of the best films of 2015. Scott has always been a great visual director, but one in clear need of a strong script and writer Drew Goddard (working from Andy Weir‘s novel) has given him just that.

The Martian is a perfectly written film in almost every way, with Goddard focusing not only on Watney’s will to survive and motivation to make it home, but the rest of the story’s complex characters, each facing the situation from their own point of view.

And Scott somehow manages to capture each and every character, without ever losing grip of the film’s main focus.

Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor all act as crucial pieces to this elaborate puzzle that Scott and Goddard put together in tight fashion.

Chastain, Pena, Stan and Mara play members of Damon’s crew that suddenly realize that they’ve left a brother behind and must somehow figure out how to rescue him, while Daniels, Wiig, Bean, Glover and Ejiofor represent NASA’s at-home crew of staffers trying to figure out how to handle this situation properly not only in the press, but also morally and from a business standpoint.

Every single one of them gives just enough to make their performance an important part of the film, yet not the whole film. Not one person could be eliminated from the film without the feeling of unbalance.

Matt Damon anchors down the film, giving a leading performance that’s very heroic and fearless, yet emotionally vulnerable. Damon has proven time and time again that he can lead with enough energy and excitement to make a nerdy NASA astronaut feel fun and relatable.

He says some wordy science shit and yet not once do you feel completely lost trying to process it all. The Martian explains things in a way that feels accurate and possible, yet easily digestible and entertaining.

The Martian‘s biggest victory comes from how positive-thinking and optimistic it feels, which seems like a rare sight in a world filled with dark and impossible odds around every corner. It’s refreshing seeing a film that’s not afraid to bring on the heavy science and boldly go into the unknown without ever losing that hope that made people want to explore space in the first place.

Many will be comparing The Martian to Gravity and that’s fair, but completely beside the point. I loved Gravity and still think of it as a perfect piece of moving sci-fi, but where Gravity focuses internally on its main character with a vast landscape for reflection and self-redemption — The Martian wisely goes in the completely opposite direction, bringing us a story that starts with one man, but rapidly expands and becomes a story involving every single man and woman on Earth.

The Martian presents the question of just how important one man’s life is versus the exploration not only of Mars, but space itself and Ridley Scott, Drew Goddard and the entire cast helps answer that, reminding us all not just how important are own humanity is, but how important it is to never give up and move forward as a species and a team and how nothing is out of our reach if we work together.

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