The Martian

“The Martian” is an intense sci-fi drama that is chock full of suspense and excitement. The music sets the mood at the very beginning of the film and the vastness of the red planet is projected upon the screen in the wonderful cinematography and set design.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut/botanist Mark Watney played by Academy Award winner Matt Damon, is presumed dead after being hit by a flying trajectory during a fierce sand storm and is left behind by his crew when they must make an emergency exit from the planet. But Watney survives and finds himself stranded. With limited supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to survive until when or if he can be rescued.

Damon is very charismatic in his role as Watney. You marvel at his intelligence and his determination to survive. Damon is surrounded by a stellar cast. Jeff Daniels is NASA chief Teddy Sanders; Academy Award winner Jessica Chastain plays Captain Lewis; Kristen Wiig is Annie; Michael Pena is the comical Martinez; Sean Bean as Mitch and Chiwetel Ejiofer as Vincent.

Cinematographer Dariusz Walski did a phenomenal job making you understand how vast, lonely and huge Mars really is. Although Mars is not as big as the Earth it is still a really big planet.

The music plays a large role in “The Martian.” Haunting music opens the film but all the way through the film there is a running joke about Captain Lewis’s lack of musical taste because she leaves only disco music for Watney to listen to much to his chagrin.

“The Martian” was directed by Sir Ridley Scott who also directed other sci-fi winners “Blade Runner” and “Alien.” The film was written by Drew Goddard based on the 2011 book “The Martian” by Andy Weir.

Tuesday night at Wehrenberg’s Ronnies 20 Cine everyone I talked with said that they liked the film. Several who had read the book told me that they liked the movie but the book was better. So, a caveat, don’t read the book first and you will really enjoy this movie.

If you are into space or if you like a well written, well acted, entertaining movie, “The Martian” is the movie for you. It is best seen in the movie theatre to feel the enormity of Mars. Don’t walk in late because the action starts immediately.

“The Martian” opens Friday at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12 and AMC Eastgate Showplace 6.

The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at