Directed by Christopher Nolan, interstellar was this Autumn’s blockbuster. Involving intersecting themes of the importance of family ties, the struggle between nature and human control and love defying time, the film is ambitious in its content and form and won’t leave you indifferent.
Interstellar is set in a pre-apocalyptic era on earth where food is scarce and extreme changes in climate jeopardize humanity’s survival. Protagonist Cooper: loving father, and former space pilot, is enrolled to go on an interstellar adventure, having to leave his children behind, in search of a planet that can sustain life.
The film by Christopher Nolan was undoubtedly going to be discussed and controversial – Why? – Well, this is a Christopher Nolan film, and used to be Spielberg’s project before passing it on to Nolan. Just like any of his films, Nolan likes to deliver a definitive work of art, to play with the viewers’ mind and feelings, and to titillate the most skeptical of us – any memory of Inception’s final scene?
Interstellar created a real fuss in the distributors’ area with the option of viewing in six different formats: Digital, 4K Digital, IMAX, 35mm film, 70mm film, IMAX 70mm film (ordered by ascending quality). You, dear audience, will have the dilemma to choose which format to watch. Just like Gravity, Interstellar will suffer from a later screening in DVD or Blu Ray, so, try and see it on the big screen as it was intended to be!
I found the film brilliant, but not flawless. The opening statement is original: Earth is not hospitable. It is implied that mankind is the reason for this ecological disaster, but the real threat here is Earth itself.
‘Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here’, states Cooper. ‘We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt’.
If one of the subthemes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, was to wonder about ‘how far should man go’, Interstellar wonders about ‘how far could man go’. The implied statement here being that man is a pioneer, and explorer, and that there are no boundaries to the knowledge humans can acquire. Yet, the comparison with 2001 stops there. Kubrick’s film was more of a quiet book of images demanding high involvement to notice the connotations, while Interstellar is a popular entertainment aiming to inspire people with off-the-cart visual imagery and wordy monologues. The vastness of space has always been a vector of introspection. By being such a grandiose show, Interstellar could lack some individuality. Where movies such as Solaris (2002 remake by Steven Soderbergh) depend completely on its characters, Interstellar does not fully reconcile intimacy and greatness. It is interesting to notice that both films are cradled by Dylan Thomas’ poems. Coincidence? No, thank you, sir.
This slight lack of focus on the characters gives the impression of an unfinished performance by Matthew McConaughey. While a couple of scenes (no spoilers) truly take your breath away and make you want to cry out loud, McConaughey does not reach the grandiose he had in Dallas Buyers Club and Mud. McConaughey is a tremendous actor, his performance in Interstellar is solid and relevant, just not as fascinating as it could have been.
Some may argue that Nolan skims over some aspects of the script, especially in the last act of the film (which is unusual for a film that lasts 2 hours and 49 minutes). Fulfilling, tiresome, mind-blowing, non-credible, you name it. But do make your own opinion of it. We will still be talking about it months from now. In a film messing with our mind by talking about quantum mechanics, time-relativity and the fifth dimension, there was one simple message: love is the one thing that transcends time and space.