Space might be the final frontier, but it’s also mankind’s last hope for survival in Christopher Nolan’s (The Dark Night)intergalactic brainteaser of an action picture, “Interstellar.” Last year’s Best Actor Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey stars in Nolan’s epic, and in the process aids in creating quite possibly the closest film rival to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in recent memory. It is in a word; EPIC!
“Interstellar,” Nolan's ninth feature film and the first in his post-Batman career, doesn’t place a superhero in the spotlight, but instead a concept: Time. In this film’s world, “Time” doesn’t actually exist like we think it does. And neither will humans for very much longer as climate change has finally caught up with us in the worst way possible. The earth is dying and there is nothing we can do about it.
This is where Cooper (McConaughey) and his family come into play. Due to another topical story point, overpopulation has turned agriculture into the most important aspect in society. Farming is now the “it” industry to be in, and almost everyone on earth does it including former Astronaut Cooper. Cooper is a single Dad and responsible for not only his teenage son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and ten year-old daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy), but also his deceased wife’s elderly father Donald (John Lithgow).
What Cooper lacks in proper parenting strategies, he more than makes up for in charisma and brainpower. If it weren’t for the world falling apart right before his eyes, he would be off exploring outer space. Sadly, NASA is a thing of the past.
But as Cooper’s corn fields continue to shrivel up and die, due to near incessant dust storms, he gets one more chance to pilot a space ship after stumbling upon a secret operation determined to find an appropriate new planet for humans to live. Joining him on the exploration are Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley) and Romilly (David Gyasi).
The Nolan brother’s script thankfully leaves out just enough science mumbo-jumbo to keep everyone watching from getting lost in space. The writing pair also uses wit, philosophy, and plenty of tense moments to keep the viewer engaged.
At the movie’s core, however, is the idea of time. The complex physics and variables that are involved with interstellar travel — especially when Einstein’s theories come into play — show that age isn’t something that has to happen in years. In space, a single minute on Planet Z equates to a decade for the people in the spaceship above it. That means that every day Cooper is separated from his family back on earth, he is growing more than a lifetime apart. Just like “Inception” toyed with this idea, “Interstellar” uses time as Copper’s greatest enemy, but also his best friend.
For a film of this magnitude, Nolan thankfully elected to shoot the majority of its 169-minute run time in glorious 70mm IMAX. The result is outstanding. Everything about the film, for that matter, is nothing short of EPIC. Hans Zimmer’s (The Lion King) booming soundtrack, cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema’s (Her) complex visuals, and star Matthew McCanaughy proving yet again that he is one of the most engaging actors working in Hollywood today, all make “Interstellar” an experience instead of a simple movie.
Even with obvious likenesses to its predecessors, including the aforementioned “2001,” and also “Event Horizon” and last year’s “Gravity,” “Interstellar” still manages to forge its own unique style and story.
While McConaughey is the brightest star in the cast, the film’s solid supporting ensemble features: Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, John Lithgow,Casey Affleck and Ellen Burstyn. Despite all of these standouts putting in excellent performances, however, newcomer Mackenzie Foy playing Cooper’s determined daughter Murphy is by far the most notable standout.
Just like “Gravity” last year, “Interstellar” is destined to spark many debates in the coming months as we move into Awards Season. While it might not be Christopher Nolan’s most commercial motion picture (you can thank Batman for that), “Interstellar” is certainly his most ambitious. Clocking in at just shy of three hours, this time-bending tale tests “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity” and proves that nothing can twist the idea of time better than a great movie. “Interstellar” takes you away on a truly amazing adventure that will captivate your imagination from beginning to end.
Now, get ready for blast off in T-minus 10…9….8…
By David Morris
Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
Running Time: 169 minutes