Saturday, November 08, 2014


Year: 2014
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, David Gyasi

Plot: In the near future, Earth is dying and mankind has regressed to an agrarian culture. A former pilot is sent with a crew to venture into a wormhole to find a new habitable planet and save mankind.

Review: As far back as seven years or so, Christopher Nolan was never really short on ambition. His films keep breaking new ground with bigger sets, effects and scale. Interstellar may just well be his best work yet.

In a story he co-wrote with his brother Jonathan, Nolan brings us to the not so distant future, where the Earth is dying slowly and mankind is now mostly made up of farmers instead of engineers. Cooper, a former pilot, is tasked by NASA to lead a small crew into a wormhole in space that will take them to a new galaxy where they hope to find new habitable planets. The mission is dangerous and time consuming, with a slim chance of making it back. This makes it very difficult for Cooper, who is leaving behind his family.

As far as the technical aspects are concerned, Interstellar scores full marks on every one of them. CGI? Excellent. The space sequences are awesome, especially those involving wormholes and black holes. And the tidal wave thing was tremendous. Set design? Incomparable. Nolan went to Iceland to film the new planets' surfaces, and it's simply breathtaking to look at. Cinematography? Wow. Nolan used the services of Hoyt Van Hoytema for this, and I'll be damned if he doesn't get an Oscar nod for his work here. Hans Zimmer also deserves an Oscar nod for his score. 

The star of this film is truly Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, playing a family man who is given the task to save the world, and has to make a huge sacrifice in the process. He brings forth all the right emotions at all the right times, and cements his leading man status here once again. Anne Hathaway is great as well playing Amelia Brand, a scientist who has her own emotional baggage to deal with. Cooper's daughter Murph is played by two people; Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain. They're both awesome. Foy plays her as the hopeful 10 year old (in real life she's 13) and Chastain as the adult, and both effectively portray the character's genius and sadness in losing their father. The rest of the supporting cast, from Michael Caine to John Lithgow and Casey Affleck, as well as a minor appearance from Matt Damon, all throw in solid work too.

Critics used to say that Nolan's films lack an emotional punch. This film seeks to remedy that, and to some extent, it succeeds. The film is about sacrifices, choices, death and love, and how these things can transcend space and time. If anything, the film has a strong message behind it and I'm down with that.

I do have a couple of minor gripes, first being Cooper's son given less attention in order to focus more on Murph's relationship with her dad, which I felt was a bit unfair, since they're both his kids and he should be more than slightly beyond an afterthought here. The other is the technical jargon, which I know is somewhat necessary, but like Inception, Nolan hasn't quite mastered the art of toning it down and making this aspect of his film more accessible to the layman.

All in all, Interstellar is ambitious in every way and scores big in nearly every way too. It's certainly a must watch for film lovers. Recommended. (9/10)

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