We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, for our destiny lies above us.
Dissecting this line from Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey from the new film directed by Academy Award nominee Christopher Nolan can be interpreted in so many ways. It can be an ode to the pioneer nature of humanity; the ability to go further than the boundaries we set for ourselves, it can be interpreted as the director attempting to break barriers where before he simply scratches the surface but whatever this line signifies, it serves as the backbone of Interstellar.
Cooper plays a single father of two children, Murph and Tom, living on a farm under siege from endless waves of dust. With climate change and overpopulation, the planet Earth is well into its twilight phase, unable to produce the necessary resources to sustain life for the human race. A series of strange astronomical events lead Cooper to the remnants of NASA, led by a professor named Brand, played by Academy Award winner Michael Caine, who has spent decades trying to find a solution to the calamity facing mankind.
Brand informs Cooper that the only way to save the human race is to make use of a newly discovered wormhole that connects our solar system to a distant galaxy with planets capable of sustaining life and Cooper’s background as a NASA test pilot qualifies him, Brand’s daughter Amelia, played by Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway, and two other scientists named Romily, played by David Gyasi, and Doyle, played by Wes Bentley, to undertake an expedition to survey these planets and determine whether or not they are worthy of becoming the new Earth, but this expedition comes at a price. The time they take to survey this new system, could mean that an unforeseen amount of time could pass on Earth meaning that by the time they potentially complete their mission, decades could have passed on Earth and humanity could be deep in the grave they call a planet.
Written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, overseen by theoretical physicist and executive producer Kip Thorne, accompanied by the audaciously booming score of Hans Zimmer, photographed by Hoyte Van Hoytema, and edited by Lee Smith, Interstellar is complex, confusing, extensive and stupendous in terms of story, scope, visuals, pacing and attention to detail.
Christopher Nolan has hailed this film as the most ambitious work he has ever attempted and that ambition simply gushes from the screen onto the audience. He and his brother painstakingly attempt to craft this beautifully sentimental story about a father who must leave his children to undertake a dangerous journey to give them a better future around actual scientific theory regarding wormholes, black holes, temporal-spacial distortions, gravitational fluctuations using dazzling visual and sound effects to craft one of the most relentless and outstanding cinematic events of the year.
Nolan himself admits that he made this film on the inspiration of the sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey and that inspiration is not lost on the audience as he takes a lot of cues from that movie as well as two of the most acclaimed technical cinematic achievements of the last few years: Gravity and Life of Pi; Interstellar is the next film that aims to follow in the footsteps of these two celebrated works of cinema in terms of visual effects, cinematography, editing, sound quality to name a few. Interstellar is worthy to be in the pantheon of these great cinematic achievements and one of the best science fiction films released to date, particularly for its use in interpreting what these astronomical events can look like; astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson apparently liked how Interstellar tackles some of these theories and possibly held the film in better standing than Gravity.
The diverse cast of the film including McConaughey, Hathaway, Caine, Gyasi, Doyle, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Timothée Chalamet, Topher Grace, David Oyewolo, are probably the best acting ensemble on screen so far this year. For a movie that highlights the science, and considering Christopher Nolan is a director who prides himself on grounding everything in a realist realm, there area certainly some strong acting performances in this movie, especially from McConaughey, Hathaway, Caine and Chastain.
The issue with Interstellar is that it is perhaps the most overwhelming film of the year in terms of going into detail about everything. The Nolan brothers showcase their dedication, but this movie just simply overwhelms its audience with the sheer size and scope of its gravity over these details; audiences are so subdued by the experience of witnessing an excursion of this unprecedented magnitude, brains are figuratively reduced to a puddle of goo.
Take my word for it: This movie is meant to be seen in IMAX format! If you see Interstellar in IMAX, it will count as one of the greatest cinematic experiences you will ever see. This movie is built on the backbone of scientific theory, it is suspenseful, it is beautiful, it is larger than life and it is one of the best films of the year.