Friday, November 7, 2014

Interstellar




Film: Interstellar

Starring: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)

Director: Christopher Nolan (Inception)

U.S. Release: November 7th, 2014 (Rated PG-13)

Genre: Sci-fi

Runtime: 169 minutes


Just as though his latest endeavor proposes, Christopher Nolan, the fearless filmmaker, has never shied away from pushing boundaries and venturing into the unknown. Love him or hate him, Nolan commands respect for the monumental standards he sets for himself and filmmakers all across the globe. And with today's official release of the writer/director's newest sci-fi adventure, Interstellar, Nolan has tackled his most ambitious feature yet.

Earth is dying. With corn as their last main source of food, violent dust storms sweep across the world effecting humanity's fresh air supply and compromising their chance of future existence. Former NASA pilot turned farmer Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) is led to the doorstep of a NASA revival facility and tasked with one very difficult decision. Either remain on Earth to wither away with his two children, Murph and Tom, or lead a team of scientists on a journey to the furthest reaches of outer space in order to find a new home for the human race.


Running at nearly a three hour clip, Nolan does a fantastic job of maneuvering his science-fueled story in countless directions in order to keep the film engaging for audiences. At the heart of Interstellar is a wonderful father/daughter story, but equally impressive are Nolan's suitably timed sub-plots that come and go throughout the feature. Nolan plants plenty of surprises and twists along the way that generate thought-provoking ideas of blind heroism vs. the natural human instinct of survival. In context they're all brilliantly handled and brought to the surface by a barrage of spectacular performances from leading star Matthew McConaughey all the way down to a brief cameo from Matt Damon. Although I'm skeptical that any of these performances will garner the level of recognition that they probably deserve, Interstellar would be a far less effective film without the exceptional work of McConaughey, Anne Hatheway and many others.


One honest downside to the film is the head-spinning scientific dialogue that runs rampant throughout the script. It's so prevalent that I wish I had watched a few more episodes of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman or brushed up on my Neil deGrasse Tyson reading. However, Nolan has enough self-awareness to recognize his ambitious goals and refuses to deliver a thought-less account of space travel, even if a large amount of the content will soar over the typical moviegoer's head. But all in all, Interstellar overcomes its head-scratching immersion in science lingo to take the audience on a multi-dimensional journey, both literally and figuratively, that's nothing short of mesmerizing.

While it becomes much easier to point out and criticize plot holes regarding the film's "bootstrap paradox" than it is to create a captivating, nearly three hour, science-supported action adventure, I'd say that this round definitely goes to Nolan. Admittedly, in many ways Interstellar is a far from Nolan's most taut or complete feature, especially with a polarizing and mind-blowing third act that's guaranteed to summon its fair share of detractors. Yet, it can't be denied that Interstellar is a visually immaculate ride that should be savored for a multitude of reasons. And much like the environmentally battered civilization his film introduces us to, I hope that Nolan continues to remain unafraid to "go gentle into that good night".


Stars: 3 stars out of 4

Grade: B+


*** For a spoiler-filled recount of the film, I highly recommend this interpretation. I completely agree with everything the article had to say about Interstellar.

4 comments:

  1. *Spoiler
    So Matthew just shows up to the top secret NASA facility and for some reason out of 4 or 5 spots available, he's chosen to save mankind? Some corn farmer? I don't buy it. The three hours were gruelling and pacing was horrible. I really wanted to like this movie; it's the first Nolan film I didn't adore.

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  2. ***SPOILER ALERT***

    Cooper (McConaughey) shows up at the NASA facility because he was given the coordinates by his future self in the 5-dimensional space at the end. He doesn't "just show up" out of thin are. Like many others, I felt the pacing was adequate and the story was certainly interesting (as I outline in the review). And while I can't refute the fact that there are a few plot-holes in the film, I'd say Nolan did a remarkable job considering he attempted a VERY ambitious subject matter.

    But if we can't agree on the content of the film, at least we'll have Hans Zimmer as a common denominator. Thanks for the comments Thomas!

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    Replies
    1. Good call about the future self. I missed that.

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