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The Astronaut's Wife

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Astronaut's Wife

Starring: Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron
Director: Rand Ravich
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: September 1999
Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller

*Also starring: Joe Morton, Tom Noonan, Blair Brown, Nick Cassavetes, Clea Duvall, Donna Murphy

Review by MrBrown
2 stars out of 4

New Line opted to not screen in advance for critics this once-high-profile sci-fi thriller, but the film is far from the flat-out disaster that decision would imply. In fact, there is a lot of merit on display here, not the least of which is that of the terrific lead performance of Charlize Theron, who once again proves to be the real deal actingwise. She plays the title character, whose world becomes increasingly nighmarish after her husband (Johnny Depp) returns from an accident-plagued space mission. Something is not quite right with him, and neither are his unborn twins that she is carrying. For a first-time director, Rand Ravich displays a strong sense of visual style as well as a command of mood, for an atmosphere of dread is ominously felt throughout the picture.

However, it turns out that Ravich has no idea what exactly the dread is leading up to. He is also a first-time writer, and his inexperience shows. All the stylish visuals in the world cannot hide the fact that the film's story simply does not add up, leaving tons more questions than answers in its incredibly unsatisfying wrapup. One such question is that of the miscast Depp's (alas, "evil" is beyond this good actor's range) involvement in this picture, other than the obvious (i.e., an easy paycheck). Theron and Ravich's style keeps one watching, but by the conclusion one may wish one hadn't.

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