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Life on Mars requires ingenuity and a keen sense of humour if Ridley Scott's film (based on Andy Weir's novel) is anything to go by. An Oscar-nominated Matt Damon is the astronaut left for dead who must make do and mend on the Red Planet, accompanied only by disco records belonging to his commanding officer (Jessica Chastain). There are surprisingly few dark moments in a survival story that went on to win a Golden Globe in the best comedy or musical category with our hero cheerfully setting his mind to growing potatoes and re-opening lines of communication with Nasa (Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor at ground control). He also addresses the audience in video diaries, drawing us deeper into his world as he works his way through life-threatening technical problems before the narrative switches focus to Nasa's rescue mission. The use of "real science" adds a fascinating dimension to the story, even if the psychological aspects - given the extreme distance from Earth - are less convincing. Scott, uncharacteristically, never uses the epic landscape to convey a more profound feeling of isolation either. Instead, Damon lives by his wits and trades on witticisms to get by, which makes him great company in the most dire straits.
A manned mission to Mars is abruptly abandoned, with one crew member left for dead. However, the astronaut has survived and faces a series of challenges - to contact Earth and arrange his rescue and to survive for the years it will take for a spacecraft to reach him on resources intended to last a month. Ridley Scott's sci-fi drama based on the novel by Andy Weir, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Cast & Crew
20th Century Fox
DVD and Blu-ray
2 Oct 2015
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