Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Going boldly where no man (or woman) has ever been before; an astronaut’s ultimate goal. Finding a new home for humanity; an astronaut’s wet dream. Can you imagine the hero’s welcome? I imagine it’s something like the kinda party Matthew McConaughey and Christopher Nolan hoped for when they ventured into the unchartered territory of a true sci-fi movie. Despite Nolan’s dalliances in multi-dimensional worlds for ‘Inception’, heading out into the wilderness of space with ‘Interstellar’ was a giant leap. Even teaming up with the best actor in the world (according to The Academy), this project was a risk, yet if anyone could make it work it was these two, right? A man with a rapidly accelerating status as a serious, accomplished actor, and one of the most ambitious and capable directors in the industry, this had to be a success.
We all know planet Earth is fucked. At some point, our great-grandchildren will probably have to get out of here before the whole thing blows or fizzles out, whatever takes hold first. So when ‘Interstellar’ drops us in the middle of an Earth ravaged by famine, drought and incessant dust storms, we are presented with a future that is by no means unimaginable. Not quite apocalyptic, but haunting enough to make you want to look after our home a little better. With humanity facing extinction, the hopes for the survival of the human race lie outside our planet and indeed our galaxy. A group of explorers, led by Coop (McConaughey), are tasked with heading into a rip in the space-time continuum to find us a new home. The crew on board the Endurance ship voyage into the unknown of multi-dimensional worlds and dangerous planets where time and space are distorted; forced to fight rogue explorers and battle extreme conditions to discover a hospitable planet for the human population. Beneath the intergalactic journey, lies the true battle for Coop, who has to decide between seeing his family again and saving the human race, which delivers the more poignant, heart-wrenching scenes with his daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain). I won’t say much more on the plot as I don’t want to spoil anything, and honestly, I don’t think I could explain much more. In typical Nolan fashion, ‘Interstellar’ is bewildering and exhilarating in equal measures.
Matthew McConaughey doesn’t look out of his depth for one second in what is undoubtedly his biggest film to date. Refusing to drop that Deep South drawl we all love, he exudes a cool composure throughout, which is only ever replaced by a gripping intensity. McConaughey leads the line impressively, adding another string to his bow and giving the McConnaissance even more momentum on its journey to world domination. Thanks to the twists in time, Jessica Chastain is able to portray McConaughey’s daughter, Murph. Chastain is responsible for bringing to life some of the more touching, emotional scenes I mentioned earlier, as well as providing a little much-needed attitude and spirit at Earth HQ. As one of the more prominent crew members, Anne Hathaway is uncharacteristically forgettable. Her character, Brand, has a key role on board the Endurance mission, yet her performance failed to register in my memory as anything but average and at times dull. Again, without spoiling anything, keep an eye out for a superstar cameo of which nobody seems to talk about.
I have to devote some time to discuss the incredible special effects used in ‘Interstellar’, which were unbelievable even on the small screen (of our 47inch television, read it and weep). The Oscar for achievements in visual effects could not be more deserved for a film which is simply stunning, taking us to exciting worlds which are incomprehensible. The way the movie plays with time and space is nothing short of a masterpiece, a really awe-inspiring, unforgettable visual experience. From bending vast oceans, to twisting galaxies, even the scenes on Earth of the inescapable dust storms, every mesmerising scene is literally out-of-this-world.
I truly regret never seeing ‘Interstellar’ at the cinema, it’s a film which deserves the special treatment of big IMAX screens and the 3D experience. But as I said, even at home, this was still an absolutely amazing 3 hours of my life, time well spent. I can’t honestly recollect a film in recent years of such stunning, breathtaking proportions, and it is probably the only space film which comes close to the classic ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. Although I’m not quite sure ‘Interstellar’ lived up to my huge expectations, I admit that I maybe set the bar a little too high and that nothing could be done to justify my personal, self-generated hype. But to take the viewer away from our planet is a daring move by Nolan, a man who constantly looks to “aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known”. And with ‘Interstellar’ there can be no doubt that the risks were worthwhile, bravo Mr Nolan.