Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest directors of his generation. He has written and directed a range of great films, that deal with similar themes and issues, which are all grounded in dramatic realism. His science fiction epic Interstellar continues Nolan’s fine form.
This film is 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.
Interstellar is a frantic and visually dazzling viewing experience, but you’ll have to concentrate as the plot is very complex. This should come as no surprise when considering Nolan’s history of producing mind-boggling films, such as Inception (2010) and Memento (2000).
It features some 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 extravagant scientific concepts do not negate the film’s other 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 no doubt root for Cooper, but he’s not overly interesting. The same goes for Hathaway and Bentley’s characters, as they don’t evolve much over the course of the film. Interstellar relies heavily on spectacle and visual effects, not that there’s anything too wrong with that. It is science fiction movie after all.
Even though I call the film 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 that offers different interpretations. Also, it needs to be viewed without spoilers, as there are a few surprises that would not be half as enticing if they were expected.
Although a visually and conceptually ambitious film, Interstellar is one of Nolan’s more flawed films. This is mainly due to the fact that a profound interest in science is required to fully understand the film’s concepts, which are all 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.
Although the abundance of scientific theories may not excite the casual filmgoer, it’s still an excellent film. McConaughey’s performance ensures that the viewer cares about the journey that takes place. The stakes are high and Nolan’s presentation of Earth as a dying planet is unlike many other movies that deal with world-wide catastrophe.
Even though Interstellar isn’t quite as good as most of Nolan’s previous films, it’s by no means a misfire in his filmography. His ambition, creativity and the ability to maintain a realism within science fiction is very commendable. Interstellar is no doubt a perilous space adventure.
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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