By: Chris Chiu
“Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”
Some things get better with age, like old wine, or aged cheese. None, however, surpass the development of Christopher Nolan. As the renowned mastermind behind The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, Nolan once again graces the silver screen with his genius in Interstellar, a fascinating tale about space and time travel.
What Inception did for dreams, Interstellar does for space. Most of us have a working general knowledge on how these two things work, but Nolan dives deep under the surface, pulling out fantastic, thoroughly thought-out ideas that push the limits of our imagination.
With so many events and twists within the 169-minute affair, the trailers do a great job at concealing the plot of a movie. Because of this, I will try and honour that by not revealing anything except for two phrases “alternate planets” and “dystopia,” and a quote from one of the trailers: “your daughter’s generation will be the last to survive on Earth.”
Interstellar’s story is compelling, and although the ideas are grandiose, they never seem out of reach – which is what makes Interstellar so captivating and beautiful. Unlike Zathura or Star Trek, there is still enough realism here to make the events of the movie seem plausible. Additionally, Nolan’s ability to capture relationships and the human condition further entrenches the viewer in the storyline. The dialogue between char-acters is realistic, yet poetic, thus packing the film with many bittersweet moments. There were a few instances that I thought I was going to start ugly-crying right there in the theatre.
In true Nolan fashion, there are multiple moments in the film that make your heart simply freeze. His unmatched knack for creating plot twists truly makes him one of the best to touch the psychological thriller/drama genre in recent times. With physics on his side, Nolan is able to manipulate the concepts of special relativity and time dilation in order to craft a world similar to that of Inception – one that is expertly layered so that multiple settings and timelines blend together seamlessly. One defining moment in the film led to a collective gasp from the audience, sending shivers down my spine.
Interstellar is aesthetically pleasing, but we expected that from Nolan already. Every detail, from the tiniest grain of dust to the endless fields of corn shown in the opening sequence is gorgeous. What really caught my attention however were the space travel sequences, as the depictions of the universe and other planets reach a stunning Life of Pi level of scenic beauty.
Although visually stunning, Interstellar is a complete sensory experience. Hans Zimmer, who has collaborated with Nolan multiple times already, once again take the reins for the score. The music is fitting and the melodies suggest the ideas of exploration and curiosity, while remaining Zimmer’s signature dark undertones. The music pairs well with the movie and is able to evoke a plethora of emotions from the viewers as the film progresses.
The casting choices were sound as well, as no character felt out of place. Matthew McConaughey’s performance was captivating and moving, while still remaining seemingly effortless. Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, and Jessica Chastain highlight an unbelievably stacked supporting cast, all delivering convincing and heartfelt performances. Michael Caine, iconic for his role as Alfred in Nolan’s Dark Knight series, also adds his talents to the film, resulting in a well-balanced film across the board.
The only criticism that I have for Interstellar is that some scenes felt a bit drawn-out. In one particular scene where McConaughey’s character is trying to dock his spacecraft onto a space station, we are literally watching McConaughey move a joystick for a full minute. This same sequence is repeated by Matt Damon later on in the movie, making an exceptionally well-paced film seem momentarily monotonous.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this movie. Although many of the underlying principles of Interstellar are rooted in physics, don’t be discouraged – the screenwriting makes the film easy to follow even for those without a background in the subject. If you only have time to watch one movie before now and the end of the year, make sure it is this one. Seriously, for a three-hour film you will leave the theatre asking yourself “Wait, that’s it? That felt so short!” There is a consolation of some sort though, just like Inception, so expect to be thinking long and hard about the sequence of events even after the film is over. Whether it’s dreams or space, I can’t help but wonder what’s next to get the Nolan treatment. But it doesn’t matter-you can count me in.