Film Review – Interstellar
Director and screenwriter Christopher Nolan has reached a level in his film career where he can take huge chances with his original films. Inception is the first example. Its complexity threatens to kill the story and the likability of the film as a whole. You can still get into arguments with your friends about the ending.
Interstellar is Nolan’s newest film. It is shrouded in secrecy, yet it is met with such fervor and high expectations because of Nolan that the general story seems to not matter to those clamoring to see it.
It is set sometime in the future, but no date is ever given. However, their technological development and progress is past our present time. The Earth is dying, plagued by Dust Bowl conditions. There is no war, no wealth because it does not matter anymore. The focus is on surviving and the limited resource is food. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former pilot who is now a farmer. He is still obsessed with technology and the sky. Cooper and his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) stumble on the coordinates to a secure area that just happens to be the last outpost for NASA. There is a plan to try to save the human species by relocating to a planet in another galaxy. Leaving his kids behind, Cooper pilots a spaceship with three other scientists (Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, David Gyasi) to find a new home for Earth’s inhabitants.
The greatest disservice that any review you read about Interstellar is telling you anything about it beyond what is seen in the trailers. The aforementioned secrecy is something that should be preserved for all who wish to see it in the theaters. Do not visit the film’s IMDb page. There are so many details and plot points that you could not conceive would even be imaginable in a film. Even things seen in the trailers, like those weird, clunky walking blocks are important to the film, but in a way that never entered my mind.
The performances are good, but not stellar. There is the necessary emotion and drive to serve the story, but it is the story itself that is the star, not the actors’ performances. Nolan also rushes the foundation for the trip into space, almost too eager to get to it. The transition is sudden and off-putting. The production value is expectedly very high, no detail is missed. The CGI space effects are utterly stunning and worth the extra cash to see in IMAX. I can only ding the film on its shoddy zero gravity work as it pales in comparison to Gravity.
Nolan does not operate in a plane based anywhere in reality, or at least one that I understand. That is fine because this is a fictional world with circumstances we should never hope to encounter. Nolan had me until the end, the climax of his love letter to space, physics, and relativity. Exactly like Inception, I left Interstellar thinking to myself, “What the hell just happened?” “I don’t understand,” is another classic reaction to Nolan’s original films, and it applies to this one also. I am still grappling with the after effects and trying to comprehend what exactly happened. It is a film that deserves a second viewing because I feel like I can figure it out, but probably not.
Interstellar is a story of love, risk, exploration, humanity, and science. It is not perfect, but it is a feat to be able to blindside your audience with wonder, excitement, and disbelief. Its fault is the complexity and the science behind it. It will alienate quite a few people, however, it seems to be Nolan’s trademark. It is not in any way, shape, or form a bad film, but it is not spectacular either. I am stuck between loving it for its risks and originality and not liking it for the myriad of questions it leaves behind. No terrible film ever left you reeling and processing what you saw a day later.
Required viewing afterwards is Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl. Interview footage from the documentary is featured in Interstellar.