Christopher Nolan’s biggest and most ambitious movie to date, Interstellar is about a troubled father daughter relationship, with some literally gasp inducing Sci-Fi set pieces and incredible acting performances added in. It is all parts spectacular, sentimental and beautifully ridiculous.
Inception was a game changer, people started to realise that you could be clever and appeal to the masses, that you didn’t have to be Michael Bay in order to make a hugely successful movie. Just look at films like Looper, Source Code, Oblivion, all at their hearts ideas based movies that try to make you think (some more successfully than others), rather than stupid special effects based films which encourage you to turn on your internal standby mode. And Interstellar is up there with the very best of this subgenre.
Matthew McConaughey is a pilot, who for the sake of the dying planet’s needs has been forced into becoming a farmer with his two children and their grandfather. Visually the start of this movie is terrifically powerful, at times you can actually feel the dust getting into your every pore. The film really communicates well the sense of a planet on its last legs, like no other dystopia has achieved quite to this level, I don’t think. Through some possibly supernatural circumstances Matt is recruited by Michael Caine to pilot a spacecraft in search of a new planet that could harbour Human life. Using a Worm hole, and some theoretical physics, they travel through the stars to find such a planet.
If you go into this film looking for a sound and realistic Sci-Fi film, what are you doing? There are ridiculous bits, but every good Sci-Fi has ridiculous bits. The Matrix is a little bit ridiculous, Planet of the Apes is very ridiculous, and 2001 is extremely ridiculous. So the fact that it might not make exact sense in real life, I find is actually a big positive. I don’t go to see a Sci-Fi epic to get plot points I understand, I don’t go to be able to follow everything first time. I go to be amazed. And during Interstellar, I was amazed. It is an awesome spectacle, scenes of the new planets at points had me saying things like “wow” and “jesus” out loud. You never for one moment realise that you are actually watching a three hour movie. You feel like you are being taken through the wormhole yourself. The movie itself is a journey, much in the way that 2001 was.
Criticisms of this movie have been that it’s not very funny, but you know, I laughed actually quite a lot. There are some genuinely very comic moments. But people have also said that it’s a cold film. It’s not. Nolan has lots of aspects of Kubrick, but where Kubrick’s films have a very eerie separation (which I love for the most part) Nolan does not share this feature. His films are always about the human elements of non-human things. That is the same here, so the relationships don’t get lost amongst the enormity of the space. This is still a relationship based film, which just so happens to be set in somewhere jaw-dropping.
Now, there are flaws. Nearly all movies have them, but what matters is if you let the viewer care about them. And in Interstellar, no amount of plot holes or under explanation was going to take me out of the viewing experience. As to whether this is Nolan’s best film, I honestly don’t know. I’ll have a think about it and post a top 5 Christopher Nolan flims post.