Brad Pitt’s star quality shines in an existential sci-fi spectacular

 Dir: James Gray; Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, Ruth Negga, John Ortiz, Donnie Keshawarz. Cert tbc, 124 mins.

Without wanting to downplay the one-small-step-for-man moment, the myth of the American astronaut was made by the movies. It’s most thoroughly codified in Philip Kaufman’s rousing 1983 Project Mercury epic The Right Stuff – an adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s history of the US spaceflight programme, in which a band of square-jawed space cowboys ride out with grit and pluck towards the heavenly frontier.

Ad Astra, James Gray’s astonishing new science-fiction epic, takes its title from a Latin epigraph Kaufman’s heroes would have doubtless appreciated. Per…

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