★★★★★ – A beautifully visual film that carries such strong and poignant messages, you’d be insane to not see it.
Chistopher Nolan’s Interstellar is unmissable. With inspiration lying in such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Metropolis and Blade Runner (which is clear to see throughout) it really can be seen as the science fiction film of the year. A gripping vision of a dystopian future and the consequent race against time to find safety for humanity provides almost 3 hours of awe-inspiring visuals, interlocked with a heavy sci-fi story-line – in short, it’s a blockbuster thriller that will leave you reeling in its wake.
With Earth unable to further sustain human life due to crop failures and an extreme change in the environment, ex-NASA pilot and loving father Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is relied upon to solve the problem. Teamed up with the mission-driven Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) and a smart talking robot (yes, really) amongst other crew, the group must travel through a worm hole to survey planets that could be possible new homes for the human race. The main story-line is interwoven with Cooper’s family back on Earth, whom he’s desperate to return to – though the physics of space travel provide some issues with this throughout. Nolan asks the question of whether love really can conquer all – pitting Cooper against ever seeing his family (particularly his daughter, Murph) again, and the moral duties of the mission. Love is as heavily explored within Interstellar as any other theme; it’s interesting to see this take on human nature and how emotion can affect our rationality. In the face of complete annihilation for the whole human race, one little girl back home is still a father’s first priority.
Interstellar could be described as more of an experience than entertainment – the complexity of the plot and characters mixed with the commitment to scientific accuracy, particularly with regards to Kip Thorne’s work on theoretical physics (his work being a heavy inspiration to the plot, and himself as a resource in the form of executive producer) provides food for thought throughout. Nolan asks the questions of where we will be without sustainability in the future? Is there other planets like Earth that are inhabitable? Are we truly alone in the universe? Without giving too much away – the last question proves particularly poignant, and an interesting theory on how we can or will develop as a race. The ‘ghost’ of Murph’s room and reliance on fate comes into play here – providing a mix up of elements that one wouldn’t usually experience within a science fiction film; playing faith against fact offers an interesting dynamic throughout. This combined with the sheer spectacle of imagined planets full of frost caves and tidal waves, vast areas of space filled with form-altering wormholes and gigantic stars, and the beautifully crafted vessels that take the characters through them provides for such film phenomena that it can’t be helped to be totally engrossed by it.
Whilst it can be rated as almost 10 out of 10, it should be said that Interstellar is by no means totally perfect. It provides contradictions to character profiles and complicated or questionable material within the plot – but to be frank, the messages and inspirational value of the film far outweigh the potential for this to be weaponised against it. As film-goers, we will always suspend disbelief to some level, and that has to be accepted even further within the tricky sci-fi genre. Not every person will find resonance with Nolan’s way of doing things, though with that being said, it’s hard not to find at least one thing that can be loved in this mash up of drama, thriller, and science-based spectacular. Whilst some may cringe at the occasional flaw, it is indisputably one of his creations – with the time bending of Inception and the sheer scope and grandeur of world-creation that accompanies all his blockbusters, even those new to Nolan’s work will sense the power of auteurship he wields.
It has to be said that compelling performances from McConaughey, Hathaway, Matt Damon and Michael Caine were to be expected, but it is the tenderly portrayed young Murph by Mackenzie Foy that stands out within the film. An unexpected yet emotionally coercive character is generated – and recognised by fans and critics alike, particularly against the lead of McConaughey in the beginning.
In short, Nolan has created a masterpiece of emotional twinges, literally out-of-this-world scenery and twists and tension that will take your breath away. With the central theme of human hope and resilience providing a common ground for almost any audience, 5 Oscar nominations and a whole host of other awards under its belt, as well as a first-rate cast and unnerving soundtrack: Interstellar truly is the epitome of the sci-fi epic.With a Blu-Ray release at the end of March, there’s no excuse to miss out.
Interstellar (2014), directed by Christopher Nolan, is released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK by Warner Home Video, Certificate 12.
This article was originally posted to The Edge.