When looking back through Christopher Nolan’s career, there’s no question he’s established himself as one of the greatest directors. In just a few years, he’s gone from shooting low-budget indie movies to making big-budget thrillers, like Inception and The Dark Knight. If that’s not incredible, I don’t know what is! Since each successive film tends to be the biggest release of the year, he’s at the point where he can pretty much make whatever he likes.
Nolan’s ninth feature film, Interstellar, is a stunning effort. Like his other films, it explores time, human nature, memory and identity. It’s set in the near future where Earth is dying and will eventually become uninhabitable. The fate of humanity lies in the hands of former astronaut Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), and scientists Brand (Anne Hathaway), and Doyle (Wes Bentley). They embark on inter-dimensional space travel through a wormhole, in order to find human civilisation a new home.
The viewing experience Interstellar delivers is frantic and exciting, but you’ll have to concentrate as it has a complicated plot. This should come as no surprise, considering Nolan’s history of making mind-boggling films, with last-minute twists.
It features very elaborate scientific ideas that do partially distract from the storytelling. There are lengthy scenes where the characters talk about complicated physics and theoretical ideas, which the audience are supposed to try and understand. However, the film’s scientific concepts never take away the film’s main focus, which is the relationship between a father and his daughter.
Cooper’s relationship with his young daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain/Mackenzie Foy), who believes her room is haunted by a ‘ghost’, is central to the plot. As a result of Earth’s impending downfall, Cooper has to push his family aside. Guided by his former colleague Professor Brand (Michael Caine), Cooper makes the ultimate sacrifice and ventures into space, uncertain when or even if he will ever see his family again.
Despite Interstellar‘s deep exploration of science, the film does have an emotional core. Nolan is often criticised for making his films too cold and emotionless. I disagree completely and McConaughey’s depiction of Cooper is further evidence of this. He shares some touching scenes with his children and his desire to see his family again, motivates him on his galactic mission.
Viewers will root for Cooper, who’s an engaging lead and anchors the narrative with emotional resonance. Even though the film is a spectacle, it doesn’t contain as much action and thrills as a typical Hollywood blockbuster. Interstellar is more of a thought-provoking space adventure, open to interpretation. Also, it needs to be viewed without spoilers, as there are a fair few surprises.
Although it’s a visually and conceptually ambitious film, Interstellar isn’t without its flaws. A profound interest in science is required to fully understand its concepts, which are based on the theories of the physicist, Kip Thorne. He was actually a consultant for the film to assist in the accurate depictions of the wormholes.
The scientific theories may not excite the casual filmgoer, but it’s still an excellent film. Every sequence pops and there’s an authentic look and feel to the visuals. McConaughey’s performance ensures you care about the journey taking place. The stakes are high and Nolan’s presentation of Earth as a dying planet is unlike many other movies that deal with a world-wide catastrophe.
Interstellar is not as good as Nolan’s previous work, but as a sci-fi movie, it’s one of the best. It’s a perilous, mind-bending space adventure with a visual language of its own. It might fry your brain, but it delivers an unmissable experience and challenges your expectations every step of the way.
Check out the trailer below!
Quoted: “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Run Time: 169 min.
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