Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine
Screenplay: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
169 mins. Rated PG-13 some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
Just give me one more minute so I can calm down, then we can discuss this movie.
Okay. Okay. I think I’m good now.
Interstellar. Wow. A film that needs to be seen once and then most likely again right after. This movie just took my breath away.
The world is dying. The last of the renewable food sources is almost depleted and engineer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey, TV’s True Detective, Dallas Buyers Club) is on his way through a black hole with a crew of scientists to find a new planet capable of sustaining human life. I don’t want to give away too much here, because this film requires you to be a participant in it.
The plot here is one that pulls you in and keeps you there the entirety of the film. The screenplay from director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) and his brother Jonathan is just incredible, presenting ideas that are grounded in real science and also contribute to a grander understanding of the universe.
McConaughey’s Cooper is an incredibly faceted character, one that could only be played by the Academy Award winner. He is a man who is forced to make decisions that cause him and his family pain in order to save the human race, and he is not without his pain. It is as though he is constantly suffering from survivor’s guilt in a way similar to Russell Crowe’s performance in 2014’s Noah.
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, Rio 2) gives a tormented performance as Brand, a woman who is emotionally just as weak as Cooper but chooses not to see it as a connection between the two. These two are both willing to give up great happiness in the goal of the mission, and they both pay dearly for the sacrifices.
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, A Most Violent Year) and Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream, Draft Day) add to the strength of this cast, but the real surprise here is TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rachel Getting Married), an artificial intelligence assisting Cooper and Brand in their mission. TARS is a unique robot reminiscent of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, a lot of this film pays homage to Kubrick’s masterpiece. TARS provides comic relief while being a fascinating creature in this world created by Nolan.
The cinematography is spectacular here, and presents a quiet and lonely universe, one where the only friend you have is the mission. It is a quiet empty space with beautiful visuals that deeply sadden the viewers while maintaining a bit of wonder.
The score is equal parts quiet and enveloping. Completely engrossing and altogether despressing.
Just a note on visual effects. It’s winning the Oscar, just prepare for it.
Interstellar is one of the best films ever made. It is one of the best films out this year and I will be looking for it on the list of Best Picture nominees. Not only does it present a dismal future but also a hopeful future, and it comes down to a beautifully realized and wholly engaging story with incredible performances and some terrific surprise cameos too. Watch this movie.
Now, I’m off to see it again.
-Kyle A. Goethe
Have you seen Interstellar? What did you think? Did you find a hit through the black hole or a extinction of film? Let me know!