Interstellar – Review
by John Seedhouse
Remember that tagline about screaming in space in the original “Alien” movie?
Remember the electronic laser fire in Star Wars?
Remember the mix and match of sound and silence in Gravity?
There is a whole lot of science that goes into a science-fiction movie. Some is good science, some is bad science and some is plain McGuffinery. There is an awful lot of science in Chris Nolan’s latest BIG movie, Interstellar.
If you haven’t seen the trailers yet then take a mo to go and watch.
We didn’t go to the moon – it was a propaganda mission to bankrupt the USSR. This is hardly the best parent/teacher meeting comment ever made to father of two, Mathew McConaughy’s character, Cooper – a former test-pilot for NASA. Chris Nolan lays on the heavy pro-creationalism as “science” metaphor early in this movie and this sets the tone for a piece that focuses equally on the idea of the empirical versus the emotional.
Nolan, never one to shy away from the humanity of the BIG issue, barrels into territory that is bound to draw comparison with Kubrick. Unlike 2001 (which the Giant Screen is showing in December), with it’s almost documentary approach, Interstellar hits home the emotional impact of every decision made. Science stretches the capability of humanity to withstand snap decisions and Nolan makes his characters pay for every choice they make. The cost of answers impacts on the crew of the Endurance as they search for a habitable world.
This is a science heavy film. Relativity and the flow of time become the narrative focus here, in the same way that perception of reality was Inception’s narrative motivator. It is hard not to empathise with the outpouring of emotion felt by Cooper as he watches the lives of his children pass by in video emails.
I had a loathing of Mathew McConaughy, based on over-exposure to that “style on steroids” aftershave ad that hit 2 years ago. That changed with his outstanding performance in True Detective. He does “thinking” very well. There is a sincerity to his pauses and you get the feeling he, like Michael Caine, is wont to strip out lines in the script that are superfluous. Caine is decent as the head of NASA and can still make you believe – here is a similar way to his Alfred in the Nolan, Dark Knight trilogy. Anne Hathaway (I am sensing a casting team here) provides the foil for Cooper’s cowboy decision processes with her strict scientist facade. She does a good job and cracks convincingly. Stand out work is by Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain, who manage to maintain integrity of their character (Cooper’s daughter, Murph) across the story, with consistent mannerisms and facial reactions.
Chris Nolan doesn’t do short movies. He has a lot to say and is not afraid to let a scene linger to add to dramatic tension. Before seeing the movie there was a tweet in my feed asking why the film wasn’t in 3D. Nolan sets his 3D stall out here and in truth, Interstellar would be a worse film fro simply jumping the bandwagon. Gravity is a “must see” 3D space film, but this isn’t. 3D would be too much. You simply don’t need it.
Why aren’t you telling me what happens?
Quite simply, I don’t want to wreck this experience. It’s Sunday today and we, along with a very full Giant Screen, saw this on Friday. Mrs L and me were still talking about it today on our post lunch walk. Usually we manage a chat in the car and that is it. Friday night we were bruised and battered by the film. Saturday, we thought about it. Today we questioned the science – was it hockum? Who did what and how?
But should I go?
A friend on Facebook asked me if it was as good as Guardians of the Galaxy. I said in my review of that, that it was Star Wars for the now generation. What could I tell her? It isn’t a first-date movie. It is nothing like Guardians (otG) – I get the feeling that (if the bean counters don’t close it down) there is every chance that this is going to be the film that is showing on the Giant Screen on Dec 5th 2060. If you are going to wait for the Blu-ray then fine – do so – but you will be crying if you don’t get the cinema experience.
This is how I felt on leaving the cinema.
— John Seedhouse (@Leftlung) November 7, 2014
Sticking with that. 10,000 frozen fertilised embryos on a space ark out of 10,000.
John watched Interstellar at the Giant Screen and thinks you should too… He went with Mrs L and she really really really likes Sci-fi. If John was an ape discovering violence for the first time he would be throwing a bone into the air and expecting great things.