Interstellar is an aesthetic delight
When writer/director Christopher Nolan releases a film, you know it is going to be a bold, ambitious and visually sumptuous affair. Interstellar is no different.
The story is thus. Matthew McConaughey is Cooper, a humble farmer, widower and parent living in a time where the Earth is blighted by non-stop dust-storms. The world is a sparsely populated place in these future times. Life is a struggle, the planet’s food resources are diminishing fast. Basically Earth is dying. It turns out though that Coop isn’t just a simple farmer. He used to be a NASA pilot, and so when he and his daughter discover a secret NASA base through a sequence of events that seem unlikely but that all make sense in the end, he has the chance to save the human race. A wormhole has been discovered which will allow Coop and a team of explorers/scientists to embark on a voyage in an attempt to find another habitable planet. Cooper is left with the impossible decision of whether or not to leave his two children behind – possibly forever – to join the voyage and attempt to save humanity from an environmentally devastated Earth, or stay with them and watch his planet and species slowly die.
First things first, this is a long film. A very long film. It lands just short of three hours. However, Interstellar needs to be long in order to give a sense of the sheer timescale and the magnitude of this incredible journey. That’s not to say the movie didn’t feel long because it did, but you can at least understand the reasoning behind its running time. It helps though, that Interstellar is absolutely stunning to look at. It is an aesthetic delight. If you get the opportunity, see it at an IMAX cinema, which is the way Nolan believes his films should be viewed. When the screen extends during the space scenes, the sense of vastness is incredible.
As for the narrative… well, the story is at times disappointingly clunky, the pace drags in places (again, maybe this is a deliberate tool to express the sheer length of time that passes) and some of the exposition is a little overt. Anne Hathaway isn’t at her very best as a NASA brainbox and I kept expecting Michael Caine to step away from his equations in order to make Master Wayne’s tea. However, Matthew McConaughey is superb (what a turnaround his career has experienced since his awful rom-com phase) and Jessica Chastain turns up halfway through to great effect. Importantly, the ideas that the narrative explores are really interesting and, if you’re still with the film as it reaches its final act, everything comes together absolutely brilliantly.
Personally, I could have done with losing the last five minutes, although I can’t explain why for fear of plot spoilers. Suffice to say there was a natural end point which was ignored in favour of tying up some loose ends. The Return of The King problem, if you will.
Interstellar has the ambition of Inception without quite ever hitting those heights but, like all Christopher Nolan films, it is visually stunning and impressively thought-provoking. Nolan is clearly an artist who credits his audience with intelligence and offers them stories with a brain as well as a sense of adventure.
Review by Bobby Townsend.