Essentially The Martian’s edgy emo younger brother. Mark Strong is the virtuoso scientist that will be manning humanity’s first trip to mars, for it is he who created a device that lets you create water from dust. On the way there he will encounter all sorts of difficulties, and may begin to question his own resolve and purpose.
Approaching the Unknown is the film for anyone who thought The Martian was too mainstream and cheerful. For anyone that actually wanting a deep look into the psyche of someone braving space on their own. Technically it’s not as good as The Martian. It’s not as well balanced or paced. However it isn’t afraid to take itself seriously. Approaching the Unknown isn’t exactly an easy watch, but it is a rewarding one I found.
Mark Strong is not a quippy astronaut. And because of this – Mark Strong’s eventual mental crumbling when put under immense pressure, though nearly the entirety of Approaching the Unknown is set in space, it feels more grounded than most recent sci fi films. Mark Strong has to carry this film single handed, and without the use of comedy to lighten the load. It’s a highly admirable movie, which understandably some people have been turned off from.
For me personally I find it very refreshing to watch a science fiction film that takes itself seriously and takes its audience seriously. For a similar film in terms of tone look to Sunshine. Yes it’s flawed, yes it’s perhaps too slow and yes it can be a little depressing. But you know what I admire that, and I really like Approaching the Unknown.