Interstellar (2014)

After watching this film for a third time I thought it was about time I gave it a review. I don’t normally practice the habit of watching a film multiple times before I write about it but I think when it comes to a film such as this; it’s pretty necessary. Right enough of my babbling, it’s time to attempt making sense of this film.

Directed and written by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar presents us with one hell of a line up, starring Matthew McConaughey as Cooper (The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013), Anne Hathaway as Brand (Les Misérables, 2012), Michael Caine as Professor Brand (The Dark Knight, 2008) and even a surprise appearance from Matt Damon (unfortunately) who plays Dr. Mann.

Matthew McConoughey's Stellar Performance
Matthew McConoughey’s Stellar Performance

McConaughey seems to be made for this role, he easily adopts the part of the brave hero with loveable rogue-like tendencies. However, for me, it was the performance of Mackenzie Foy who plays 10 year-old Murph that really shone. Her ability to portray a powerful and determined child that still manages to pull on your heart strings in moments of peril is incredible.

From the very beginning of the film we are greeted by an encapsulating array of cinematography combined with a clever use of documentary style format. The interviews we are shown snippets of give the viewer a sense of reality which is one of the things I love most about this film.

Breathtaking views on Miller's planet.
Breathtaking views on Miller’s planet.

Unfortunately these grasping visuals do not last and we are forced to sit through 40 minutes of dull small talk as the narrative attempts to introduce the concept of the film. The reality is, though, it probably could have been done a lot quicker but Nolan definitely had his reasons to start the film in such a way. He later uses this technique very effectively in order to build up tension and suspense at several points. Despite being a little slow to begin with at no point did the film appear to be anti-climatic. It suddenly just explodes with action and beautiful visuals. From that point on it continues to climb which is what makes it such a masterpiece. Not many films can stimulate a climax for over two hours.

Once our protagonists leave Earth Interstellar begins to show us its strengths and reminds us why the film was so highly anticipated. From this point on it becomes a real sci-fi and this is what I loved about the film most. The introduction of Einstein’s theory of relativity plays a big part which I still can’t get my head around. Honestly, don’t try. You’ll probably just break down like I did…I wish I was joking… As Professor Brand states “I’m not afraid of death…I’m afraid of time.” and with that it becomes clear that the antagonist is no being but the concept of time; deep stuff right? Matt Damon gives it a good shot but let’s be honest, we didn’t like him anyway…Saying that I am due to see The Martian (2015) soon so I should probably stop slating him.

Spaceship Endurance and Gargantua
Spaceship Endurance and  supermassive black hole Gargantua

The similarities it shares with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) are uncanny. Unfortunately I can’t really list these without giving too much away but bare it in mind if you do get around to watching it. A few things I can list though, the use of a rotating space station to simulate gravity and the use of silence are signature factors that I always relate to Kubrick. The use of silence in particular is something I found to very ominous and scary; it serves as a reminder of how vast and scary space is. Not to mention it reminded me of Alien’s (1979) tagline “In space no one can hear you scream”.

That’s enough of the sciency stuff for now. The film also features a good amount of comedy throughout. It throws the viewer back and forth between tense moments of peril and some unforgettably hilarious punchlines. At no moment did anything feel safe, even my third watch was as tense as the first. Nolan has this incredible way of causing you to become immersed in the story and as a viewer you easily begin to put yourself in the astronauts’ shoes.

Overall this film brilliantly combines science and fiction, finally bringing the sci-fi genre an element of justice. You will be in constant awe of the sheer beauty of this film. Loving every moment of heartbreak and heroism. It is a film that blows your mind to such an extent that you just have to watch it again and just as you think you have your head wrapped around it all you’ll see something you didn’t notice before and the entire process begins again. Possibly the best film of 2014.

Rating: 4.8/5

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