- Released Internationally on 06/11/14
- Released in Malta by KRS on 12/11/14
3-word review: Don’t Go Gently.
You might be stunned into silence by Interstellar, but you might also dismiss it as a confusing waste of three hours of your life. Either way, it will most probably linger in your memory as something unlike anything you have ever seen before. This is not a film that is easy to digest or define, or write about. But it is most definitely another technically marvellous piece of cinema from the mind of the great Christopher Nolan.
An uncertain future
Starting off like a scene from Signs, the film introduces us to single dad Cooper (Matthew McConaughey, still on top of the world), who lives surrounded by corn fields with his two children. The bond with his daughter is clearly a special one, and with just a few opening scenes we are quickly drawn into this tight family unit that is the heart and soul of the sci-fi opera ahead. What is not clear is what year we are looking at, since we slowly learn that mankind has failed and the last few survivors are slowly starving as crops succumb to pests. Farming is encouraged as the human race tries to survive.
Into the wormhole
We are then introduced to the real crux of the dilemma as an ageing NASA professor (Michael Caine, a Nolan regular) recruits Cooper for a desperate mission to travel to other galaxies and find habitable worlds that the human race could emigrate to. The odds aren’t great, and thanks to the bending of time and space as they travel through a wormhole, the expected duration of the mission is far from certain. Here lies one of the film’s master strokes – the narrative potential as loved ones are separated by time and space is heart-wrenching and full of possibility. Cooper promises to his daughter that he will be back, but she has no way of knowing when.
A complex epic
What unfolds must have been a nightmare to write and condense, and quickly fills up the film’s nearly three-hour running time. As the hopeless mission slowly unravels in space and the subtle apocalypse proceeds on earth, we are treated to such an array of emotions, topics and stunning sequences that it can get exhausting at times. From love, to time, to survival instinct, Nolan and his scriptwriter brother have undertaken quite a lot. Some might be disappointed at how it all comes to the boil, but there’s no denying that this is proper science-fiction, with lots of science but also some fascinating and imaginative fiction.
A feast for the senses
Even if you give up on the fine details of the plot, there’s lots to digest and marvel at on the big screen. The balletic scenes in space are gorgeous, with more than a hint of the waltzes of Kubrick’s 2001. Composer Hans Zimmer also enhances the action and drama with a Philip Glass-like score that is one of the highlights of the film. There are a few casting surprises that should bring a smile to any movie-lover’s face, and there’s a particular docking scene which is the most exciting thing I’ve seen on screen all year.
In the end
I might need two or more viewings of this before I truly grasp what Nolan has done, just as happened with Inception. This might not be a film for everyone, but Nolan continues to be the most original and courageous voice in mainstream film today, with an assembled cast and crew that have made something truly spectacular.