Review – The Martian

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The Martian is a 2015 sci – fi adventure based on the book of the same name, by Andy Weir. The film is directed by Ridley Scott and based on the adapted screenplay by Drew Goddard.

Set in 2035, Mark Witney (Matt Damon) is a botanist conducting research on Mars as part of the Ares III research mission. The team conducting the mission is led by Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) and includes a number of team members that include Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara, Michael Pena and Aksel Hennie.

The mission quickly sees the emergency evacuation of the planet as a heavy storm approaches and during the evacuation, Witney is injured and believed dead. The team complete the evacuation and begin the 10 month journey back to Earth.

However, Witney wakes to find himself the only person on the entire planet, with no means of contacting Nasa and a very limited food supply.

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The film effectively operates in two parallel story lines. The first, a solo performance by Damon as he struggles to exist on the planet in a ruthless environment, the second an ensemble performance as the team at NASA slowly discover Witney remains alive and attempt to develop a plan whilst the rest of the team return home.

The team at NASA include Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, and Kristen Wiig.

The performance by Damon is outstanding in this film who effectively spends the entire film by himself. Usage of the station’s video log creates the means that Damon voices his thoughts and plans and it is partly through this that he delivers his performance.

The setting of the film is done perfectly and it feels entirely real that you are watching scenes playing out on Mars itself. Additionally the soundtrack featuring some classic disco songs offers enjoyable light relief through the film.

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The film offers a huge advertisement for science, and its hard to look at potatoes in the same way after the work that Damon goes through attempting to grow food on the planet.

The film is a huge success and rightly saw a number of nominations in the oscars. Damon’s performance alone warrants the viewing but the storyline and broader performances also deliver high results. I loved it.

9/10

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