When a storm threatens a mission to Mars, the six astronauts are forced to flee. Struck by fallen debris during the evacuation, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is believed dead. Now he must find a way to survive with a limited food supply, millions of miles from home, on a planet where nothing grows.
Before writing his debut novel that inspired the film, Andy Weir did extensive research into the science behind the story. He reportedly asked for NASA’s opinion on his finished product and was told it was extremely accurate. This delicate touch is worked into the script and brings an enormous sense of realism to the fictional tale. Anyone familiar with Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, that recounts the true story of an ill-fated NASA mission, is sure to find themselves thinking of it on numerous occasions.
Yet as outstanding as the The Martian’s intelligent script is, it would mean nothing without Matt Damon’s brilliant central performance. His charming sense of humour and inspiring optimism is the lifeblood of the film. He manages to bring some fun to his tragic circumstances; becoming the first man to colonise Mars (”take that Neil Armstrong!”) and even begins to enjoy his fellow astronauts endless supply of disco music. His wonderful performance is backed-up with strong support from Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristin Wigg and Jeff Daniels – to name a few.
Alongside this humour is an intense drama as both Watney and the NASA team back on earth fight to bring him home. But will they succeed? That’s the question we can’t answer and it keeps you gripped until the end.