THE MARTIAN Review
Written by Juliet Potter: 17-September-2015
I hate to repeatedly reference Tom Hanks' Castaway here, but the comparisons are unavoidable.
Everyone loves Damon. How can you not? Forget that he's a top-shelf, quality actor that nails every role, his performance in THE MARTIAN makes Tom Hanks' Castaway look like a holiday at Club Med. The sense of isolation Damon imbues in his portrayal of astronaut Mark Watney make the viewer realise he has as much hope of being rescued as I do of winning the next Australia's Top Model (just kidding, Watney has way more chance).
During a mission to Mars, the disarmingly united four man, two woman crew are struck by a fierce dust storm and must evacuate immediately, leaving behind one little duckling - Watney.
Finding himself stranded and alone with nary a Wilson in sight, Watney faces desolation, a shortage of food and air, and all hope of rescue. Worse still, he has to acknowledge that he's been left for dead, with no way to communicate with NASA or earth.
Conveniently, he's armed with a few key lifesaving tools - a rad 70's sound track and a keen sense of humour, which he uses liberally and hilariously by recording a video-log (seriously, more astronauts should have social media accounts). He also happens to be a botanist, which solves the initial food shortage problem when he begins to grow his own potatoes.
*As an aside, eating carbs all alone, undisturbed on another planet is actually a dream of mine. Actually, who am I kidding, this is me most Friday nights on my couch.
Again, not unlike Hanks in Castaway, Damon wastes into a starving, undernourished method actor who makes you feel guilty about consuming way too many Maltesers, Flake Bites, Twisties and Wolf Blass whilst sitting in the cinema.
Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN cast is impressive and includes Jessica Chastain, Kristin Wiig (whose drastic performance belies her comedic brilliance), Jeff Daniels (aka Dumber of Dumb and Dumber, ditto Wigg comment), Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover.
All in all I enjoyed the film, thanks to Damon at the helm. It was way more bearable than Castaway, thanks to his constant interaction and thus connection with the audience via his video log.
A few musings I took away; how the heck can this guy actually speak to NASA from Mars when I can't even get phone reception in CBD Sydney? Also, how can all six crew members actually LIKE each other after spending so much time crammed in one space (excuse the pun)?
Our rating 8/10.