Sorry I haven’t been around much of late, internet chums. What with overseas travel, six day working weeks and half of my friendship group apparently getting engaged and married, I haven’t had time to review anything of late (and trust me, I have a lot to review. Beach holidays make for excellent reading time). And, I mean, I considered asking my friends to put off their impending nuptials so I would have time to blog, but to be honest, that seemed a bit self-centred, you know?
Today however, I do have a corker in store, because less than an hour ago, I finished watching Christopher Nolan’s newest film, Interstellar. For a film that is about space travel, it somehow managed to deliver so much more: hints of Homer’s The Odyssey, questions about life on Earth, and to what extent a human being will do in order to survive. Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Set in a dystopian future, Interstellar shows Earth as a wasteland – although humans are currently surviving, it’s only just – space travel, the army and other ‘unnecessary’ aspects of society have been dispelled so that more people can be trained as farmers – in this future, the only thing that we need is food in order to stay alive.
When Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter stumble onto NASA’s hidden quarters (via directions from a seemingly paranormal bookshelf), McConaughey soon learns that the precarious existence that humanity has carved out for themselves will soon not be enough – and so he, alongside three other astronauts, will have to travel through space and a wormhole into another galaxy in order to find a new planet that humans can begin life on.
If Cooper succeeds in finding this planet, they have two options – either Professor Brand (Michael Caine) solves the gravity problem and entire space stations of humans can be sent through to the new planet, or humanity on Earth dies, but a secondary colony (made from frozen embryos) can begin life and continue the existence of humans.
Of course, being a Christopher Nolan film, not to mention one about space travel, things are more complicated than that. Not only does Cooper have to make the heartbreaking decision to not see his children for perhaps many, many years, but he also has to deal with relativity – after all, time is a man-made concept, and as such, time does not necessarily move at the same pace in space.
Not only does Interstellar boast a killer director, producer and writer in Christopher Nolan, but it also has a star studded cast – Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon and John Lithgrow just to name a few. And for the most part, particularly since they essentially had to compete with one another, each of the actors excelled. Most impressive of course was Matthew McConaughey, if only for the reason that he has managed to shake off the shackles of an actor solely in terrible chick flicks (remember Failure to Launch, anyone?), but Jessica Chastain as the heartbroken daughter was also both amazing and harrowing.
What was best about Interstellar though is its original (and somehow scientifically accurate) storyline – it isn’t a remake, sequel, book or television adaptation. And though I will be the first to admit that I know very little about space time, wormholes or physics (although Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything did shed a light on the whole thing), it didn’t stop me from both enjoying the film while also actually UNDERSTANDING it. Which, considering how confusing Inception was (and I had a friend explain it to be step by step while we watched it), not to mention The Prestige, I feel like both Christopher Nolan and I deserve a pat on the back.
Lastly though, for a dystopian sci-fi, space time thriller, Interstellar was a film that tugged at the heartstrings. When one tore their mind away from the conundrum of relativity (after all – how DOES that work? For example, if you’re on a planet where each hour is 7 Earth years, what happens if you’re in contact with one another on the phone between planets? Does time get literally sucked away as you’re talking? Not to mention – how are they communicating in the first place? Wouldn’t the light years that they’ve travelled distort how long the message takes to get across? AHH, TIME AND SPACE), it is a story about humanity and love. The exchanges between Cooper and his daughter Murphy are legitimately heartbreaking, and the thought of one person having to witness – from afar – their loved ones living their lives is potentially the most torturous of all.
Interstellar had a lot to live up to but luckily it’s survived the hype. Though scientists may question parts of the storyline (how DOES spaghettification actually work?), as a member of the general public, I can say that it’s been one of the best, and most original, films of the year.
Have you seen Interstellar? Are you a fan of Christopher Nolan films? Let me know!