Matt Damion is a astronaut who is accidentally left for dead on Mars and so, with only 30 days of food left before he runs out, he must ration and science himself for over a year before rescue.
What a great survivalist movie. No bad guy except for the harsh Martian environment and the unimaginable bigness of space. No unbelievable good guy, just some nerd who can science. This is the ultimate brains vs. everything movie – a movie where problems arise and it takes actual thinking to get out of them – and it is just so good.
Why do I find this refreshing, though, and why am I so troubled by that realization?
I guess because teamwork has almost become cliche… that gunshot from the heroes friend that comes out of nowhere… the Eagles showing up to save the day. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a movie where it’s just one person against an adversary. Sure, there are people back on Earth and between who are working to save him, but for the most part, Matt Damion’s Mark Whatney saves himself. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie do that since CastAway.
Speaking of going solo, Matt Damion carries this movie with charm, making him one of the ultimate sympathetic heroes. It’s hard for an actor to be the only person on the screen, but Damion does it and owns the camera every time.
This is just a wonderful movie. It allows the audience to love the characters, it allows the audience to take in the sights and sounds of the environment, and it conquers its problems by brainpower and duct tape. This is not a stupid movie for the masses, this is an intelligent movie for the masses… a true man vs. nature nail-biter.
It’s about three hours long, but you’ll never know it… the story is so enrapturing that they just fly by.