Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)
I was pretty psyched for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, considering the brilliant films he’s made in the past: Memento, The Prestige, Inception, and The Dark Knight trilogy. All those movies that make you go “WOOOOOOOAH what a twist!” But while there was much to admire in Interstellar, you pretty much needed to be an astrophysicist or at least scientifically-minded to understand what the hell was going on. I probably understood about half of it, if that.
Sometime in the future – it isn’t specified when which bugged me – civilisation is on the brink of extinction, for some reason that I didn’t really understand. Of course, Matthew McConaughey steps in to save the day but that also means leaving his children, potentially forever, to go into space and find some shit and something about a wormhole. He is accompanied by Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and David Gyasi, and directed by wise old Michael Caine from Earth. Stuff about gravity, time, space, and all that deep shit. I don’t really know. You just have to go with it. For almost three hours.
Christopher Nolan reportedly wanted everything to be plausible, and even collaborated with noted physicist Kip Thorne to make sure it was, and not one of those films that all the science nerds mock as soooooo unrealistic. So there’s various passages in the script about quantum such and such and dimensions and other science stuff that I don’t understand. This film is not for average people. Or even above average people. It’s all just TOO HARD. Times like these I wish I were smarter.
Of course there’s all the awesome trademarks of a Nolan film, in its Hans Zimmer score – slightly different to his usual style, and the impressive cinematography – this time by Her’s Hoyte van Hoytema. Unfortunately the sound wasn’t great at IMAX where I saw it and I couldn’t understand parts of the dialogue. And I was struggling enough already! At one pivotal moment I had no idea what was happening and not just because I’m scientifically borderline illiterate.
Matthew McConaughey continues his McConnaissance in Interstellar and that guy is a goddamn champ. From chick flicks to Academy Award winner! And he may even get another nomination here. Jessica Chastain similarly continues to shine, and MacKenzie Foy as Cooper’s daughter Murphy has certainly improved since she was the weird as hell Renesmee in Twilight: Breaking Dawn. There is one unexpected cameo (assuming you haven’t read the cast list in detail) which was AMAZING. I was thrilled to see one of my favourites, and even more so as we learnt more about his character. This was the best part of the film for me. Do yourself a favour and let this be a surprise.
I often begrudge films for expecting too little of their audience, but for a change, I think where Interstellar falters is that in its desperation to be scientifically accurate it ends up being rather isolating. There were definitely some interesting ideas in there, but they often got lost amidst all the jargon (and by jargon, I mean words like ‘quantum’). Lovers of science will likely be impressed, but the rest of us will be left scratching our heads wondering what the hell just happened.
3.5 stars (It would probably be higher if I were smarter)