The setting of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic ‘Interstellar’ is much like the theme that runs through his story telling. The grand, infinite magnitude of space in which ‘Interstellar’ explores is similar to Nolan’s storytelling due to the unpredictability of what will be found after watching his movies. One thing is certain though, Nolan has built up a reliability of delivering films on an epic scale since his directional debut on ‘Memento’. ‘Interstellar’ keeps Nolan’s streak going.
‘Interstellar’ is set in the near future, in which Earth is slowly becoming a Mars-like, dusty environment, as the soil slowly loses its fertility, resulting in a plummeting and starving population. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a pilot-turned-farmer with a passion for exploration, and is referred to as a man born “40 years too late or 40 years too early”.
The farther of two is led by a strange series of anomalies to the NASA headquarters. Cooper is then persuaded by his former mentor Professor Brand (Michael Caine) to explore what is beyond a wormhole that has appeared in our solar system, in search for a planet that is capable of sustaining human life, with a team including his daughter (Anne Hathaway).
Despite Cooper heading off into space, enough time is spent on earth to build a lovable character. Its explained that this voyage is not just his natural calling, but one to save his kids future. You are able to see the split in personalities between his children; with his son (Timothee Chalamet) following more in the footsteps of Coopers father Donald (John Lithgow) in becoming a farmer, whereas his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) has inherited Coopers love for science and adventure. Nolan is able to reel the film close to home with these emotional video emails sent to Cooper from his children as they literally grow up in this time bending traversal.
The acting in this film is truly sublime. McConaughey ‘s career revival of 2013, in which he won the Oscar for Best Actor in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, has propelled him to heights that five years ago looked laughable. The manner in which McConaughey delivers his performance is great, as he thrives off this great story from Nolan and produces an immersive experience. His character is so believable and lovable due to how he approaches this role, it makes you as an audience member feel as though you are going on this emotion rollercoaster with him, a rollercoaster that could lead McConaughey to another Oscar win this year.
Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine are also great, but Timothee Chalamet’s character did feel a little underdeveloped though, down to lack of screen time, and thus its hard to emotionally attach your self to him like you can with Murph.
Both the cinematography and score work hand-in-hand in creating a beautiful immersive experience. Hans Zimmer’s score is truly mesmerizing in its ability to transform some-what average scenes into epic moments that will stick in the mind; especially the scenes which was shot in Iceland. The visual experience from ‘Interstellar’ is one of the greatest achievements in modern cinema by how it’s able to present these grand landscapes and breath-taking shots of space without CGI being noticeable, even for a split-second. This then allows you to stay immersed throughout this film, as it never pulls you out of this epic combination of story telling and beauty.
By no means is Interstellar perfect though. Nolan’s creative mind can sometimes run too wild in delivering a unique experience and ‘Interstellar’s story does fall at one hurdle. The story telling feels as though its holding your hand throughout the film and as an audience member you feel as though Nolan explains every detail to iron out any confusion, but by doing this it doesn’t allow the audience to use their creativity and common sense to fill in the blanks. Nolan has expressed that he is a big fan of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’, and had he taken a similar stance to the films ending as Kubrick did and cut the final 10-15 minutes from the mammoth 169 minute running time, then this would have allowed the audience to take a truly unique sense of satisfaction from the film as they solved the puzzle with clues that Nolan laid out throughout the film. But Nolan goes that one step to far and puts all the pieces together for you which takes some of the satisfaction away from the masterpiece Nolan has entertained you with for nearly 3 hours.
‘Interstellar’ is truly a gripping experience from start to finish that clearly has that unique Nolan stamp when it comes to the story and visual elements of this film. ‘Interstellar’ would of felt more satisfying had it cut out the final segment of the film and by-no-means is this Nolan’s best film, but with the portfolio of titles the director has alongside the likes of ‘Prestige’ and the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy, Interstellar fits perfectly in his streak of creating epic, un-miscible films.
Review by Conor Rees.