Just 18 days into NASA's manned Ares 4 mission to Mars things go disastrously wrong when a huge dust storm blows up on the surface of the red planet. After the astronauts are caught out in the open collecting soil samples their commander (Jessica Chastain) orders them back to their spacecraft so that they can evacuate the planet. Unfortunately as the crew are making their way back astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is struck by some flying debris and is presumed by the crew to have been killed. With no time to look for his body the crew reluctantly blast off from the surface and head back to earth.

Back on earth and just as NASA director (Jeff Daniels) is announcing to the world that he has been killed a badly injured Watney regains consciousness. With a manned mission not due to reach Mars for another four years and with only enough food to last a few weeks Watney soon realises that his chances of survival are slim to say the least.

However luckily Watney as well as being extremely resourceful is also a trained botanist. Using his skills Watney then, using his own compost, sets about trying to grow a potato crop that he hopes will provide enough food to keep him alive until the next manned mission his due to land on Mars. With no one to communicate with and believing that he's been left for dead Watney starts to log his exploits by way of a video diary.

Meanwhile back on earth an eagle-eyed NASA employee spots evidence that might point to the fact that Witney is still alive. The second half of the film sees NASA, as the clock ticks down on Watney's chances of survival, racing against time to organise a rescue mission.

With a fantastic supporting cast including Chitwell Ejiofor, Kirsten Wiig and Sean Bean director Ridley Scott has crafted a film that, given its limited story line, is terrific nail biting entertainment and thanks to a masterly performance by Damon, is not to be missed.

The Martian (12A)

2h 21m

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring:  Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis

UK Release: Wednesday 30th September 21015