169 Min | Adventure – Sci-Fi | November 2014
IMDB Rating: 9.0
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Interstellar Review: Interstellar is a story about the earth dying, with its soil no longer able to sustain crops other than corn, and of course, it will lead to the extinction of humanity. Our hero is an ex-NASA test pilot named Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a typical ordinary-guy-in-an-extraordinary – situation everyman who’s also a dedicated family man, especially toward his daughter Murphy (named after the Murphy’s Law). In an all-too-Armageddon style our hero gets invited by the (publicly) defunct NASA to become humanity’s last hope in finding a new home, for they have found a wormhole near Saturn (2001, anyone?) which will warp the astronauts to another galaxy in quest of a habitable planet. Solid and compact premise, although it’s been used before.
For seasoned filmgoers, there are many similar elements (although it’s understandable) with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Robert Zemeckis’ Contact (1997). In a sense that this is not a bang-bang-shoot-shoot-blow-em-up sci-fi, but more of a slow-burning, metaphysical sci-fi which gets you to think about your place in the universe and your exact place in time. Similarity with 2001 and Contact is never a bad thing, but it becomes a wee bit too predictable, although Nolan is a smart enough director in providing the final twist in the story. The visuals in Interstellar is majestic, everything is shot to a meticulously calculated level, Nolan-style. The space scenes are serenely suspenseful just like Cuaron’s Gravity, but unlike the documentary feel of Gravity, there’s a real gusto and pace to these scenes.
One thing that Nolan gets a bit wrong is the narrative. Nolan was never a ‘warm’ director, his films are filled with brilliant ideas and flair but it feels cold, it maybe suits Memento and The Dark Knight but in Interstellar he seems to have been lost in determining which of the interpersonal drama or the sci-fi that will be Interstellar’s forte. The result is a rather incongruous script, intermittently cutting off the excitement of the previous scene and so on. But it is a forgivable sin, for the good is a lot more than the bad in this monumental film. At the end of the day, Interstellar is a grand film. It is monolithic, thoughtful, sentimental, sophisticated, visceral but also with its flaws. After watching Interstellar, do yourself a favor and get lost in space and time and go back in time to see Contact (1997) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) to further wonder and wander into the realms of the unknown. Because sometimes it is the unknown that fascinates us, frightens us and brings out the best in us.