Verdict: 4.5 / 5
Pure poetry. A mix of philosophy, astrophysics, existentialism, ethics and a running reference to Dylan Thomas’s words: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar could be the biggest sci-fi film of this decade.
Interstellar is not just your typical sci-fi film with action and inter-planetary adventure. These three hours of drama, require all of your astrophysical knowledge on relativity, space travel, time travel, black holes, and wormholes. As you take the journey, there is a steady movement from strange to bizarre to believable to unbelievable and back to strange again. Oh, and the twists, so many twists.
It’s the near future and the Earth is dying, hit hard by climate change. Crops are failing and colossal storms bring in noxious dust that will eventually envelope all life. Those who don’t starve will suffocate. Of the few who fight on and seek some normality above ground, is a family championed by an ex-astronaut turned farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey).
As days go by it seems as though their house is haunted by a poltergeist in the daughter’s room (Murphy, played by Mackenzie Foy, and later Jessica Chastain). The intrigue builds as patterns form in the dust on her bedroom floor; a binary code and a hidden message leading them to a secret base a few miles away. There they find that NASA still exists, and is planning inter-galactic travel, to ship as many humans as possible to a distant habitable solar system. The project is headed by father and daughter scientists Dr. and Prof. Brand (Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine) who have been working for years with a pathway to this galaxy; a wormhole near Saturn. This doorway is believed to have been created for humans by “them” – 5th-dimensional lifeforms who communicate through gravity fields. Cooper is the best pilot around and is recruited for the secondary exploratory mission. The first exploratory mission involved, among others, Dr. Mann (Matt Damon) with whom they plan to rendevous.
There is so much science-talk that you’d better read up on relativity before you go, to grasp the concepts central to the plot. The start is extremely slow and makes you yearn for just a little bit of action, but it is necessary to build the relationship between “Coop” and “Murph”, which is the central focus of the plot as well as to Cooper’s motivations throughout it.
You need to listen carefully all the time to catch the logic of the storyline, and some of the dialogue is lost in a large cinema. So this is a film where you should be sitting right in the front, and with a large popcorn to keep your stamina up. I doubt you’ll own this on DVD though, (unless you really loved it and want one as a tribute) because the plot twists are the main attraction, so once you know those there is not much to go on, except maybe beautiful scenery and cool tech. Having said that, there are so many turnarounds that you should be pleasantly reminded the second and third times.
There is so much tension, Interstellar is truly a thrilling ride. Expect the music score to be award-winning, as it subtly but completely transports you. There is heartbreak, redemption, relationship drama, fistfights, philosophy, ethical conundrums, very appropriate humour and a real poetry in the story-telling. Interstellar is definitely one of the best films of 2014.