Interstellar feels like one of those movies that’s going to get a distinct fan base over time. It certainly has people who hate it and people who love it. I think though that overtime most people will come to respect Interstellar for the beautiful, ambitious vision that it is. I actually kind of loved this movie, flaws and all, for its scope in writing and visuals. So much happens on this near three hour ride that you have to at least see it to believe it.
In the future, drought and dust storms are making it impossible to survive on earth. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot is recruited to go on a mission to find new planets that humanity can live on. To do this mission, he will hold on to the love of his daughter (Jessica Chastain) and son (Casey Affleck) and will go through many life or death struggles.
Regardless of how successful the end product is to you, you have to admit the concepts and ideas presented here are incredible especially for a big budget blockbuster. There is so much in the story that has to do with fascinating concepts like wormholes, new planets, gravity that it seems like something that deserves to be rewatched and paid attention to for the things it tries to get across. You can tell that director and writer Christopher Nolan spent years working on every detail of the story and because of that there are points where my breath was taken away how many levels and ambition there was to what he is attempting to achieve here. He takes all of these different things and he brings them to life with visual effects. Interstellar becomes not just a testament to the advances of modern cinema but also a testament to the advances in science and technology. With these things, Nolan creates a world that is entirely believable and filled with fascinating points that feel daring, intelligent and exciting. For 2 hours and 45 minutes, we are on a journey of discovery that all feels oddly realistic thanks to Christopher Nolan’s passion for modern advances.
The core of the movie was definitely between Cooper and his daughter. They are both extremely intelligent and imaginative and they have a clear love for each other. When Cooper leaves earth, despite there being world changing things going on, the real thing you care about is whether they will be able to see each other. While Cooper is finding a new planet, his daughter Murphy is looking for the answer to an equation that could help bring humanity beyond as well. Both are millions upon millions of miles apart and are fighting in different dimensions but the love they have for each other is so huge that it not only survives over decades but manages to become the key to saving the human species. There love is so powerful that they both are big forces in each other’s lives even when they can’t see or communicate to the other. The climax is actually Cooper becoming a massive presence covering and protecting Murphy even when he can’t be there with her. The people who are the villains in the movie are those who are lost and alone, those who have given up in the survival of humanity or the good that we can do. And yes, our love and need to nurture can get in the way at many times but in the end, it will be the thing that will keep us moving and it will be our compassion that allows to survive continuously. Many will complain that Interstellar is a movie of ideas without character or heart. On the contrary, this is a movie of ambitious ideas and a fascinating, new view of the world and all of this comes back to people and our deep love for each other. It’s this simple, heartfelt, beautiful message that makes Interstellar so amazing to me. This is a piece of science fiction that manages to be both layered with ambitious things and driven by a large amount of human warmth.
Do I even have to tell you how the movie is technically? The visual effects are the work of a master artist; there is a beautiful, vision to them and the way that they are used that hasn’t been seen in a very long time. Here, visual effects are more than just a cool gimmick; it’s a filmmaker’s way to show us bold, new ideas that haven’t been seen before on film, at least on this scope. Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is dreamlike and it creates a mysterious, moving atmosphere that surrounds a lot of scenes, it’s filled with emotions and feelings that make it feel alive. The editing is fantastic, I was never bored and it did a decent enough job going over a lot of things in a story that could probably be stretched to a ten part mini-series.
Matthew McConaughey’s performance is amazing here as Cooper. With a lesser actor, Cooper could’ve just proved a prop to move the story forward. McConaughey’s performance here is what makes Interstellar feel sincere and touching. He gives this movie the human aspect and he had me pretty close to tearing up in a lot of scenes. You can feel the complete love that he has for his daughter and it’s the thing that drives him to change the world, it’s very personal and raw and it might be my favorite Nolan performance since Ledger in The Dark Knight. Jessica Chastain is great Murphy, Cooper’s daughter. Chastain is one of the most capable actresses working in film today and here she gets a lot of scenes to show how talented she really is. It’s the great performances of her and McConaughey that creates the beautiful, universal relationship between father and daughter that becomes the heart of the movie. Anne Hathaway is very likable in the role, I though Matt Damon was successfully creepy, Casey Affleck as always is awesome and for his first real breakthrough role, David Gyasi did great work as one of the scientists aboard the spaceship. This is one of the most impressive casts of the year and Nolan uses it to bring humanity to this very concept heavy movie.
I’m not going to come here and tell you that this is a perfect movie. There are a lot of times where you can probably ask about plot holes and if you wanted to you could nitpick this movie until there’s nothing left. But if you were to do that you would have to disregard all of the work that went into the screenplay, the direction, the themes and the cast. I’m not asking you to turn off your brain but I am asking you to consider the boundaries Nolan attempted or even succeeded at breaking to give you this movie. There are so many things you can dissect and explore factually and thematically and even if it doesn’t all come apart and sometimes it’s a bit rushed, so what? You’re still paying to see something that is challenging and clearly meaningful to everybody who was working on it.
Interstellar is the most ambitious movie so far in 2014 and it’s one of the first true spectacles we’ve gotten all year. This is something that deserves to be watched on the biggest theater screen possible. The cast is great, the scientific concepts are used ingeniously and the themes Nolan gets across here are satisfying and moving. Much like the characters in its movie, Interstellar attempts to accomplish big things and take you on a journey like no other out right now.
Release Date: 4/4/2014
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Bill Irwin, Michael Caine, Topher Grace and Matt Damon
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan