Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, John Lithgow
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar boldly goes where no Nolan movie has gone before; space, the final frontier. Yet Nolan’s film isn’t quite the masterpiece we all hoped for. Bold, beautiful, complex, yet maybe slightly overly ambitious; it promises so much, but just falls slightly short of being the next 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Interstellar is set in a dystopian future, where crops are routinely ravaged by blight and dust storms. When Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an ex test pilot and engineer turned farmer, stumbles upon a secret NASA rocket launch site, he is asked to embark on a journey across space and time, on a mission to save all of humanity. This isn’t your usual space mission, this adventure involves plunging into the dark unknown of a back hole, in order to find new planets where humanity can survive. This means that he has to leave his children, Murph (played by Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain and then Ellen Burstyn) and Tom (played by Timothée Chalamet and Casey Affleck), and father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow) behind.
Where Interstellar really excels is in its visuals, its soundtrack and its acting. The film looks absolutely gorgeous, bringing to mind Kubrick’s brilliant 2001: A Space Odyssey. Watching McConaughey fly around space, speed through back holes and land rather abruptly on new found planets, is simply jaw dropping. The soundtrack also harks back to Kubrick’s masterpiece, with an almost operatic sound, which accompanies the group of outer space explorers throughout the film.
Do not go gentle into that good night; old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Now onto the performances. Firstly, McConaughey continues his fine form. Every single scene involving the Academy Award winner is utterly mesmerising. He takes us on an emotional journey just by looking at his facial expressions. If his performance doesn’t bring you to tears, you are not a human being and need to rethink your outlook on life! There is one scene in particular, where Cooper watches a series messages from his children, which will have you balling you eyes out.
The supporting cast is also very strong. Mackenzie Foy is remarkably believable as Cooper’s young daughter Murph. Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck are all good in their respective roles. Watch out for a very interesting cameo from Matt Damon halfway through the film.
Nolan’s film is also incredibly ambitious, taking on complicated notions of space travel, Einstein’s theory of relativity, the singularity and even love itself. However, its ambition is ultimately the film’s downfall. Unlike previous Nolan films there is a lot of unnecessary exposition in Interstellar, which does detract slightly from the overall enjoyment of the sci-fi picture.
It could have also ended 20 minutes earlier, and there are problems with the ending, which shouldn’t be discussed here due to spoilers. Nolan’s previous films weren’t afraid of leaving the ending open and up for debate, yet this is not the case in Interstellar. Nolan tied everything up slightly too neatly, attempting to offer up explanations for absolutely everything, which wasn’t needed.
Ultimately, Interstellar is an ambitious sci-fi adventure epic, which unfortunately falls just short of the mark. Nolan’s over-ambition and Interstellar’s overly long running time, result in a slightly underwhelming affair. Having said this, it is still a remarkable piece of filmmaking, and one which should be applauded for its big ideas, fantastic visuals and enthralling performances.