Nov 042014

“Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here”. The Earth is no longer able to sustain life, it is slowly dying. People have sucked it dry and now many are starving. What if there was another place, somewhere where humans might have a second chance at survival? If only we could find it….Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is reviewed after the jump.

Cooper (played well by Matthew McCounaughey) was once an (Aerospace) engineer, but now he’s a farmer. He lives with his late wife’s father (John Lithgow) and two children on a farm that they struggle to maintain. Dust storms wreak havoc on everyday life, crops are failing one by one and people simply don’t have enough to eat.

When Cooper’s daughter Murphy (the talented Mackenzie Foy) discovers what appears to be a paranormal presence in the house, Cooper and Murphy realise that it has given them the coordinates to a remote location in the mountains. Upon traveling to the location, the pair find a hidden NASA base, one which has been kept secret from the skeptical public. The base, run by Professor Brand (Michael Caine), has the aim of finding another planet suitable for life and they are in need of someone who has real experience at the helm of a shuttle. Cooper is convinced to go, and along with Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) they head for a wormhole that may be a portal to a better world.

This is not a perfect film. Nolan and his screenwriter brother Jonathon have created an incredibly flawed screenplay, with poorly written female characters, clunky exposition, groan-worthy lines that are meant to have substance and a ridiculous need to have the characters repeat the message of the mission (and the film) many times. I acknowledge that these problems are present, and yet, I don’t particularly care about them. Sure the film would be better if these problems didn’t exist, but they didn’t significantly impact my enjoyment of the film. The reason why, is wonder – the sense of being completely surprised and in awe. Wonder is a powerful feeling indeed, and isn’t something I feel that often. This film completely wrapped me up in its wonder and I had such a great experience watching it.

Interstellar captures the joy and the wonder of space exploration. Do you remember being a kid and watching any of the space shuttle launches? I do and I remember being utterly mesmerised by the romance and danger of it all. I got the same feeling while watching Cooper and his crew search previously unexplored realms of space. The idea of looking for a new home for humanity is not a new one, but it is executed incredibly well here. Planets are explored, adventure is had and love and loss are experienced by all. Hans Zimmer’s score provides a predictable, but perfectly suited soundtrack for the journey.

I saw Interstellar at IMAX and if you have the opportunity to see it this way, I highly recommend it. The shots of space and other planets were profoundly beautiful. Nolan has a great love for film and 70mm and when you add in cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Her, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), the result is something quite magical. The mind-boggling spectacle of going through the wormhole is worth the cost of your ticket alone. It’s a shame we didn’t spend more time exploring and less time listening to the barely comprehensible Michael Caine spout lofty ideas and exposition.

Something I really appreciated about this film was the way it showed the Earth’s demise. There isn’t a dramatic invasion or a large-scale disaster which wipes out most of the planet. In Interstellar the Earth is diseased, it is slowly becoming uninhabitable, much like an uncleaned house becomes unlivable the longer you don’t clean it. Considering scientists have just told us we’ve had the highest greenhouse gas concentration in 800,000 years over the last 12 months, there is something terrifyingly plausible about this idea.

This film made me spill rare and precious tears and, you know, it earned them. I loved the joy of exploring, the idea that there is somewhere else out there for us and the beauty of the vast unknown.
By Sam McCosh


The Facts

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer(s): Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Mackenzie Foy
Runtime: 169 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: November 6 2014; USA: November 7 2014