The 3D is uncalled-for and there’s probably a way to make the dialogue less expository, but this riveting survival tale about an astronaut stranded on Mars gets it right where Interstellar got it wrong. No matter how stratospheric the premise, its narrative remains focused and its drama grounded. The moral dilemmas, encased in cold, hard aerodynamics and maths, are beautifully enacted thanks to an empathetic performance by Damon under Scott’s level-headed direction. Intricate, pragmatic, momentous: science has seldom been more exciting.
The Martian | Directed by Ridley Scott (USA 2015) with Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain. Starts October 8
Originally published in issue #142, October 2015.