Authenticity; I can’t imagine The Martian without it. The movie dazzles you with imagery so unreal yet believable, a Mars that is a character in it’s own right. And not only in style does this movie excel, but in the characters as well. These are the pillars that the audience roots for and identifies with, and with an expertly picked cast of actors that deliver performances so solid, the believability inspires emotions towards certain situations and characters other films fail to accomplish. And although the film would’ve been better off leaving some in the cutting room floor, the main cast gives you the sense that each is an important gear in a much larger machine. The Martian undoubtedly, is epic both in scope and scale.
As the world watches the protagonist, played in Oscar contender fashion by Matt Damon, authenticity gives way to humanity. As the grandiosity of the journey envelopes the audience’s mind, director Ridley Scott paints the canvas with human moments that will leave you thinking and contemplating once the credits roll.
The Martian has a feeling of bloatedness in some scenes, but the brisk pace and solid acting make for a much smoother transition between filler and substance. It also helps that the sometimes incoherent dialogue of Interstellar only rears its head a couple of times.
I appreciated The Martian’s downplaying of its cliches. They don’t feel in-your-face, just like its underlying political and philosophical themes. Subtlety is something sorely lacking in today’s mainstream, blockbuster movies, and equally welcome is Ridley Scott’s return to form, as well as producer Simon Kinberg and writer Drew Goddard’s defining work. Finally, the sci-fi icon that made Alien and Blade Runner erases the sour memories of Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Counselor with a potential Oscar contender.