Brad Pitt is having a fantastic 2019. His latest film ‘Ad Astra’, which premiered at Venice Film Festival on Thursday, has been received extremely well. Pitt’s performance is being singled out in James Gray’s movie, which deals with an astronaut heading out in space to find his lost father. Although the film did not generate Oscar buzz as immediately as Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’, critics have unanimously praised Brad Pitt. Notably, Pitt supporting turn in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ still remains his best shot at an Oscar nomination.
Here is what some of the critics have written about Brad Pitt’s brilliance in ‘Ad Astra’. Variety credits “Pitt’s stalwart presence” for bringing the entire movie together and holding it in place. The critic asserts, “This actor rarely makes a false move” and it would be safe to say that ‘Ad Astra’ fairly rests on Pitt’s shoulders.” The Hollywood Reporter writes “Pitt is working the minor keys to sublime effect, as he does in his exquisitely wry, career-best turn in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.'” Apart from that, The Wrap has also drawn parallels between Pitt’s performance in ‘Ad Astra’ and Tarantino’s ninth film, saying, “He blurs the line between fear and precision so easily that it’s a haunting experience. Similar to his recent work in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ Pitt is at once an affable hero and a danger to himself and others, seemingly without acknowledgment or malice, but who can know for sure?”
There have also been some critics who have drawn parallels between Major Roy McBride in ‘Ad Astra’ and Tyler Durden in David Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’, noting that the former parodies masculinity the same way latter does. Furthermore, critics have pointed out how Pitt’s performance is filled with pained melancholy in the space adventure. Screen Daily writes, “While one wishes the voiceover wasn’t so present, the actor suggests all that’s empty and weary about this expert astronaut who’s good at his lonely work but almost nothing else. Roy isn’t sure if he really wants to find [his father] at the end of this voyage, and many assume he’s dead, and Pitt deftly articulates the mixture of anger, love and betrayal coursing through the character as he gets closer to this possible reunion with his father, who may be able to fill an indecipherable void within him.”
The Guardian has been lavish in its praise as well, awarding five stars and saying, “Pitt embodies McBride with a series of deft gestures and a minimum of fuss. His performance is so understated it hardly looks like acting at all”. Meanwhile, Vanity Fair has held back in praising the film, but has praised Pitt, saying, “Pitt projects a quiet, luminous power — I guess it’s that movie star glow, the one so palpably turned to full shine in this summer’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.’ Pitt’s gravitational pull does a lot of work for Gray’s film, which struggles to breathe in the deliberate airlessness of its design.”
‘Ad Astra’ is slated to release in theaters on September 20, 2019.