Monday, October 26, 2015

The Martian (2015)

Just when I was ready to write off Ridley Scott, he went and made this wonderful film. Sure he occasionally makes a classic here or there (Alien and Blade Runner), but overall his filmography is an unending stream of what Andrew Sarris would call, "strained seriousness". This has especially been true of his post-2000 output of stuff like Hannibal, A Good Year, Robin Hood and Exodus: Gods and Kings. Even the lone (debatable) gem in that run of films is the viciously morbid and insane, The Councilor. In light of all of that, The Martian feels like a cinematic rebirth.

Like Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street and George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian is alive with an energy most often exclusive to a filmmaker's first feature. The filmmaking is overflowing with energy and most importantly/rare for Scott, it's funny.

Imagine what a slog this film would be without that disco music and Mark's musings! The humor also really helps to temper all of the selfless, "we have to do the right thing" aspects of the story. Without the intentional laughs, this film might have elicited some unintentional ones. With those laughs, this film becomes an inspiring story of human perseverance, cooperation and the importance of science. Well done Sir Ridley!

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