This was the first film I saw with my brand new Cineworld Unlimited membership, and I thought it would be an average blockbuster of the month. I thought 'Ah yes. Another reliable, middle of the road stint featuring Matt Damon'. I don't think I've ever been more wrong in my life.
This is the best film I have ever been to see at the cinema. I truly cannot find a fault with this film.
Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity, Saving Private Ryan) plays astronaut Mark Watney, who has just been stranded on Mars after a dreadful storm in which he has been presumed dead. Watney wakes up and before long realises that he is soon going to die, due to lack of food and/or water. But Watney doesn't give up that easily, and soon finds himself the first man to colonise Mars.
Now, I'm not sure what aspect of The Martian to rave about first, so I think I'll start with the performances. I haven't ever seen Matt Damon play a character badly, but he was so suited to this role. He was pure perfection, as he delivered a stellar myriad of emotions and he really set the tone superbly. Whether it be wit, sadness or just the general adjustment to living on Mars, I cannot say a bad thing about Matt Damon in The Martian.
Another performer that I was hugely impressed with in The Martian was Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave, The Shadow Line). I had heard Ejiofor's name thrown around news reports in the past, after there were rumours of him playing Doctor Who number 12, and after it was revealed that he will star in Marvel's Doctor Strange next year, but I had never actually seen him in action. In The Martian, he was given one of these fairly humdrum, 'at-home-in-an-office' type characters, but let me tell you that he absolutely owned the role of Vincent Kapoor. The friendly nature of Ejiofor's Earth-bound character brought a familiar and comedic vibe to what could have been quite a far-fetched and unrealistic film.
Despite his character not really being too compulsory in the film's plot or the dynamics of the film, Sean Bean (GoldenEye, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief) was fantastic. He portrays morally correct NASA big-gun Mitch Henderson, who frequently disagrees with NASA CEO Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels)'s decisions to take control of Watney's Mars adventure. Bean was a smart addition to the star-studded cast, and clearly Ridley Scott's attempt to allure working class British audiences.
This is, however, by no means an attack on Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus). Thanks to The Martian, Scott has now maybe edged a spot in my top 5 directors. He is truly astounding for making such a fantastic film. The sets, the cast, the premise of the film, and more, all of which would have been at least 20% worse if another director had got hold of this idea. He is one of a kind, and I applaud him.
This film has earned a place in my top 10 films of all time.