Interstellar - Review

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a string of expanding propositions, which if you’re onboard you’ll be treated to a fascinating film but if you’re not, then oh boy Houston we have a problem. It will more than likely be one of the years more divisive films, given its heavy reliance on scientific theories and bold choices in the storytelling department. I’m well entrenched in Camp Yay! on this one, but in fairness like most of Nolan’s work, the film has its issues. This isn’t your typical blockbuster fare, in fact you’ll have to do a little work while you’re watching it. It’s more like sitting through a lecture from a really cool teacher who’s spruiking that learning can be fun. Pretty sure this'll be near the top of my best films for the year list.

Set in a not-too-distant future the world’s resources are quickly running out. Mankind is forced to explore other galaxies to find planets that may be suitable for colonisation. After receiving a strange message Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Fox) stumble across a secret project led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) who is trying to save the world. Cooper a former pilot of some note is selected to lead crew consisting of three scientist on a daring mission, on which the fate of humankind rests.

It’s interesting to think where Christopher Nolan’s career would be if he hadn’t made his Dark Knight trilogy. Up until Batman Begins his films were on a smaller scale and tackling darker content which didn’t suggest box office gold. So despite the scale of the Batman films Nolan was still able to use them tackle socially relevant issues such as corruption, the war on terrorism and disproportionate wealth distribution; at a time when most superhero films were having a hard enough time retelling their own source material. These films led to the mind bendingly cool Inception which convinced its audience to accept a rather peculiar plot device to tell it’s story and yet it was immensely successful. It would appear that all this progression has been leading Nolan to telling his most challenging film to date. Interstellar just as Inception did, spoon feeds its audience as to how all the funky science works before jumping off the deep end, praying people will go with it. Just like Inception, for me, the leap in logic works beautifully. But then I admire ambitious film making that requires a few subsequent viewings in order to work out exactly what is going on.

The film goes to great lengths to explain the scientific foundations on which the story is built, and yes at times it may be a little heavy handed. For instance scientist draw diagrams to explain their theories to one another even though arguably they are explaining the equivalent of science 101 to each other. Of course the diagrams are for us dummies in the audience but if there’s a better way to explain quantum physics i’m all ears. Large portions of scientific exposition is a necessarily evil if the plot is to get to the crazy places that it ends up, which the film handled admirably under the circumstances.

Behind the technically scientific mumbo jumbo lies a story, which simply put, is that age old battle between the heart and the mind and how they both play an intricate part in discovery and survival. We can not rely solely on either analytical mind or passionate heart to make our decisions in life. Nolan highlights this by placing his characters in situations which pitted heart against head to see how they work themselves through them. A real hallmark of his storytelling.

The cast is led by the coolest-of-cats Matthew McConaughey, whose performance is the culmination of the killer run he’s been on and it’s worth adding, if you haven’t seen any of his films for the last few years, do yourself a favour and watch them all. Michael Caine does an extraordinary Michael Caine performance but it feels like a bit of a victory lap for the legend. Anne Hathaway doesn’t quite rekindle her Dark Knight Rises or Les Miserables form but she’s more than capable with the emotional heft she’s burdened with. Jessica Chastain plays the older version of Murph, I wish she had more to do in the film, although I am biased since she’s easily one of my favourite actresses in Hollywood at the moment. Marlon Sanders (Jenkins) and Wes Bentley (Doyle) are great as the other crew members.

I implore you to watch this on the big screen as its the only way to do the cinematography any justice. Films like this demand the biggest screen possible, from the hypnotic shots of the cosmos to the sweeping shots of earth it’s simply stunning to watch. Even better, the visuals are accompanied by a rousing and at times inspiring score by master craftsman Hans Zimmer, who continues to knockout sensational music.

I’m loathe to invoke a masterpiece such as 2001: A Space Odyssey however in time Interstellar could be spoken of in such regard, and in fact feels like a direct descendant of the Kubrick classic. I’m cautious about recommending this film given the demands it puts on its audience to accept the principles behind it; but it’s too damn good to miss seeing it on the big screen.

Interstellar opens in cinemas everywhere this Thursday. If you see the film and agree or think i’m outta this world then feel free to drop a line below or come play over on our Facebook page.

- Stu


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