Interstellar (2014)

Review #1,098

Director:  Christopher Nolan
Cast:  Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Matt Damon
Plot:  A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Genre:  Adventure / Sci-Fi / Drama
Awards:  Won 1 Oscar - Best Visual Effects.  Nom. for 4 Oscars - Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing.
Runtime:  169min
Rating:  PG13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.

“Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.”

Most critics would mention Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) in their review of Interstellar, but I will avoid that, because I wish to focus on Christopher Nolan's singular effort, his most ambitious yet, a film that would go down as bold and visionary science-fiction.  There is more science than fiction, more exposition than action, perhaps this was why some moviegoers left the theater I was in halfway through the film.  They are missing out on a whole lot. 

Interstellar runs at an epic length of 169 minutes, which is fitting as space exploration into the unknown demands that amount of time to unfold in its mystical, breathtaking glory.  Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and Matt Damon, all giving fine performances, Interstellar begins with the entire world at risk of extinction. 

Food is increasingly scarce; farmers are valued more than engineers.  There are dust storms everywhere.  We can only look up into space for hope, at least that is what McConaughey and Caine's characters think.  A secret space exploration programme could be the salvation for mankind, with the faintest of hopes to find out if celestial bodies across the galaxy are fit for colonization. 

As far as it is a far-fetched notion, with Nolan indulging in quantum physics and space-time relativities, not to mention of attempting to enter wormholes and black holes, the film softens the clunky science with a potent father-child dynamic.  In what is perhaps his most sentimental picture to date, Nolan embraces the warmth of love, while exploring the soul of humanity, even if all are dwarfed by infinite, dark space. 

Interstellar is an uncompromising film, not only in its portrayal of the depth of the human heart as likened to the deep abyss of space, but also of Nolan's fierce artistic vision that is expressed through unforgettable visuals, some so despondent and bleak that one can only hope for the human heart to contain, or maybe diffuse it. 

The film may have its flaws, particularly how things unfold conveniently in the name of science, as well as Nolan's obsession with explaining the ones and zeroes of his narrative, but as a piece of thought-provoking, emotions-stirring cinema, it takes some beating to remove this outrageously envisioned work of art and spectacle from the pantheon of great sci-fi pictures.

Verdict:  Bold and visionary science-fiction, Nolan explores the soul of humanity in his darkest, most ambitious film yet.


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daniel said…
This is the science fiction movie that i want to see. Not the overblown disaster called 'Gravity' which substitutes emotional and philosophical themes with nonstop action.
Eternality Tan said…
Ha, I thought GRAVITY was slightly overrated, but the experience was great nevertheless. INTERSTELLAR has greater emotional and philosophical depth, that I must agree.
Unknown said…
Interstellar vs Gravity. Maybe we are comparing apples and oranges?
Eternality Tan said…
Hmm, in some way yes. My first thoughts about INTERSTELLAR revolved around 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and to some extent, INCEPTION. But I also feel that we can compare both films' approach to science-fiction. Now that I think of it more, GRAVITY is quite remarkable in in its exploration of humanity's concern with survival in an intimate, less expansive way, but no less an experience.

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