Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck and John Lithgow
Directed by Christopher Nolan
From Warner Bros. Pictures, Syncopy and Paramount Pictures
By Monte Yazzie of The Coda Films
There are movies and then there are Christopher Nolan movies. Nolan, whose career catalog has been nothing short of impressive, attempts to accomplish one of the most ambitious visionary feats of recent years with “Interstellar”. This film is an experience in the fullest terms; visually beautiful to watch, awe-inspiringly composed, and bursting at the narrative seams with thematic theoretical wonders. “Interstellar” is a film whose ambitiousness will ultimately become its Achilles heel, though in a film so passionately composed, it’s a minor concern for the film enthusiast this film is intended for.
Earth is dying and the last of humanity lives as farmers to produce food for a dwindling existence. A former pilot named Cooper lives with his family in a small town. With the help of his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) Cooper discovers coordinates that lead him to a group of explorers heading a mission into deep space, beyond our galaxy, to find a habitable planet to save mankind.
Nolan composes a distinct vision of the future. A bleak outlook and regretful remembrances occupy an Earth that is searching for any glimmer of hope. This is found through a wormhole near the rings of Saturn with coordinates received from an unknown source that is guiding the explorers. The script is ingenious with mounting theories that drive the film from plausible to implausible positions, a rift at times that Nolan traverses with ease and other times tumbles messily into. It’s the kind of obstacle that in lesser hands would derail a film, however Nolan recovers and continues to charge forth towards further ambitious expanses. Nolan builds events towards near epic standards with such ease and simplicity of design. In one scene the sheen of a spacecraft floating across a gorgeously rendered backdrop of Saturn’s atmosphere is accommodated by Hans Zimmer’s equally moving score. This all escalates gradually, giving the journey into uncharted territory a grandiose quality without looking overdone. It’s a brilliant design.
Just as all the best science fiction, there is an underlying message being proposed. Nolan discusses regret throughout. Difficult choices, necessary choices, and selfish choices all compose a collection of people who understand that the right decisions, both individual and communal, could have been made in the past to prevent the current state. There is a constant connection with the elements as well, represented through layers of wind blown soil, pummeling water, and flashes of fire, these elements seemingly betraying humanity by displaying their dominating destructive force on life.
The cast, as in most of Nolan’s films, is great. McConaughey is the consummate heroic figure, self-sacrificing to a fault and emotionally motivated for the greater good. The script spends time building his character as a devoted family man with subtle emotional touches initially, but as the film charges into space the relationship between his family is slightly stilted and relinquished to a few, albeit touching, moments. One might defend this portrayal as another character facet by Nolan to display the nature of a father willing to attempt impossible feats to save his family, but the emotional influence is lost until the final act. Mackenzie Foy, who portrays young Murph, is quite excellent. As is Jessica Chastain, who portrays older Murph with a maturity that is strong willed though bruised by the abandonment felt by her father. There are also nice turns by Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway accommodating another reflective father and daughter story.
“Interstellar” has minor difficulties living up to its lofty ambitions, however it is still an exceptional vision unmatched by other films in recent memory. Christopher Nolan confidently crafts an intricately beautiful and seemingly uncompromised work of science fiction.
Monte’s Rating 4.00 out of 5.00