Directed by Christopher Nolan, and co-written with his brother Jonathan, Interstellar is one ambitious science fiction drama. The plot involves a former pilot turned engineer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), who is tasked with going on a space mission to find a new world after Earth is ravaged by a horrific dustbowl. Upon discovering a series of mysterious messages in his home, Cooper attracts the attention of a former mentor in Professor Brand (Michael Caine). Convinced that his theory on other worlds is sound, Brand believes that Cooper is the only one who can lead the mission that might save humanity. Reluctantly leaving his two kids behind, including his young daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy), and agreeing to take Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway) along for the journey, Cooper and crew set out on a two year trip to seek out a wormhole near Saturn.
While Interstellar is science fiction on a grand visual scale, it’s really a father-daughter drama at its core. Both Cooper and Amelia have their own emotional baggage to deal with related to their relationships with their families. The film’s narrative structure is simple as the first act is set on Earth, the second set in outer space, while the twisty final act involves an adult Murph (played by Jessica Chastain) attempting to finish the theories that Professor Brand first started. However, where Interstellar gets intricate is in the way it utilizes the theory of relativity. Though the science of the film can feel overwhelming at times, Nolan makes good uses of time dilation as an hour in one location can feel like years in another. It helps to enhance the overall tension in the film as Cooper and Amelia find themselves in a race against time.
Shot in 35mm film, and incorporating elements of 70mm film stock, Nolan’s production feels massive in scope in every possible way. This is especially true for the scenes set on mysterious planets that feature astonishing images of mountain landscapes. Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema adds to the sense of visual depth in the way he captures both the planetary scenes as well as the interiors of the spaceship.
Considering the scale of the production, this is definitely Nolan’s most ambitious film to date. Though the first two acts are very strong, things get very clunky in the complicated third act. Despite some missteps, the film offers a satisfying payoff in regards to its visual allure and the dramatic stakes that the characters must deal with. Matthew McConaughey gives a mesmerizing performance as Cooper, bringing a lot of heart to his role of a man determined to do whatever it takes to see his family again. McConaughey’s performance is nicely matched by the strong supporting work from Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy and Michael Caine.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a tremendously vast and exhilarating film. While it does have some flaws, it’s a film that is definitely not afraid to take some major risks. It expertly balances the immense sense of awe and wonder of space travel, with the emotional weight of a father sacrificing everything to ensure that his daughter has a better future. In the end, Interstellar is a sensational film that should be seen on the biggest screen you can find.
© thevoid99 2014
Nice write-up – I agree with you that the amount of risk and ambition pretty much compensates for the flaws of the film itself.
I can live with flaws in a film as long as it has something that will pay off in the end. Besides, ambitious films aren’t always perfect but at least it shows that Nolan has balls.
I’m glad you latched onto the risks more than the narrative construction. I was exhilarated when I got out yet still fully aware of some of the plot issues and basically, why bother? Nolan wanted to create something new for us to see, visual quotations and all, and by golly did it work.
I knew it wasn’t a perfect film but I still enjoyed it as well as everything that Nolan wanted to do and say. It’s still better than a lot of the films that are out there.
Comments are closed.