Editor’s Note: This is a review. It discusses the film. It’s not overly spoilery but be warned, if you haven’t paid attention to the trailers or know little of the film you may find details here you weren’t expecting. – Chuck
Christopher Nolan, a director up there with James Cameron, is a talent that could seemingly do anything. Nolan, allowed pretty much everything under the sun by Warner Bros (and any studio lucky enough to work with him), has never been more clear with his vision than with “Interstellar.” The film, starring Matthew McConaughey and co-written by brother, Jonathan Nolan, opens everywhere this Friday and may just be one of the best films you will ever see.
“Interstellar” is based on a plot initially conceived by film producer, Lynda Obst and theoretical physicist, Kip Thorne. Revolving around the theories on wormholes and relativity, it tells of a team’s exploration through a wormhole near Jupiter in order to save the human race. While this is an oversimplified version of the plot, the movie works on a much grander scale. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former pilot and engineer, recruited by what’s become of NASA, in a not too distant future, sent to explore a gravitational anomaly that has developed in space. The urgency of the mission is due to a “blight”, which has depleted most of Earth’s resources and brings to mind America’s “Dust Bowl” during the 1930’s. This is a much more dangerous level than the Dust Bowl, the world is dying and there has never been a greater need to find a new, hospitable earth than now. If we don’t, it’s very likely that the current generation on Earth will die due to suffocation rather than starvation (an effect due to the high amounts of nitrogen in the air because of the “blight.”) During an earlier mission through the wormhole, NASA became aware of three potential planets, but the voyage to save humanity comes at a steep price for Cooper. The price of time. Cooper, the father of a 10-year-old daughter, Murphy and a teenage son, Tom, has to leave them behind to save the world, yet may never see them again due to the amount of time it would take to travel to another galaxy. The emotional crux of the film being a scene that finds young Murph (Mackenzie Foy), clearly hurt by her father having to leave, ignoring him as he promises that he will return; only to run crying to him as he drives off to leave on the voyage of a lifetime. This is a voyage that will not only test the limits of the human mind and spirit, but will also redefine the importance of love across time and space.
Watching “Interstellar” is an experience. It is an experience in the grandest sense and getting to view the 70mm IMAX screening brought back the showmanship long-lost from major film releases. Complete with a red carpet and a 24″x47″ poster for each member, the opening of “Interstellar” at the AMC Lincoln Square (the biggest IMAX screen in NYC; 2nd biggest in North America) is an event that reminds people this is Christopher Nolan’s movie, and that we’re tourists, not simple audience folk. Having directed movies such as “Memento”, “The Prestige”, “Inception”, and “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, Nolan is clearly the right person to lead us all on a journey that is not only a magnificent sight, but also a landscape reminiscent of “2001.” But this space odyssey, running close to three hours, never stalls. The pace is steady and expertly crafted into various acts. Be it watching the effects of the “blight” causing massive dust storms, climate change, and population decline to seeing ice worlds and water worlds, alien to our eyes, there is never a moment that runs on for too long. Nolan, directing a well cast group of actors, firmly plants us in the reality of what we’re seeing and while “Interstellar” is an end of the world film, it never bites off more than it can chew. The strength of both Nolan and brother, Jonathan as writers is that they never develop a plot that they aren’t capable of finishing.
“Interstellar” is a film that asks to be experienced and is meant for those that enjoy the magic of movies. The cast, including Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine are reason enough to see the film. One of Nolan’s greatest abilities is his adept sense of casting a movie. Always leaning in favor towards actors and not movie stars, the film doesn’t surprise in that many of the smaller moments are vital, driven by actors such as Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, and John Lithgow.
While “Interstellar” does draw cues from Stanley Kubrick’s much-lauded “2001” in areas that may be deemed too spoilery to detail; it is a film that could easily be imagined being discussed for years to come. Perhaps even in the days of a real, world ending “blight”, “Interstellar” remains so relevant in that we all have families and that all of our lives are marked by time no matter how far we travel. Christopher Nolan has given us another classic film, one to celebrate and enjoy, and a reminder that “love is the one thing that transcends space and time.”
5 out of 5 Voyages of a Lifetime!
Interstellar is now playing in IMAX theaters, opening everywhere this Friday.