Quick Hit: Beautiful science fiction in every way.
Often times when I watch a science fiction movie that really is awesome, I type out a big paragraph about why I like the genre so much. But as I’m sure you read my posts a lot, dear reader, I’m going to just say this – good science fiction can remind you of why humanity is so great. In the case of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s epic science fiction film from 2014, it can remind you of the best and the worst of humanity all at once.
Interstellar follows Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former pilot who is now repairing farm equipment and attempting to raise his children in a world that is falling apart slowly. Crops are slowing unable to grow, and dust storms are frequent and causing issues for us breathing folk. However, his daughter, Murph, has a ghost on her hands, and eventually, she and her father discover that a message has been left for them in binary. It leads them to NASA’s last stronghold, and Cooper decides he has to go to space in order to help give humanity a chance at surviving any longer.
The film is heavily, heavily influenced by science fiction that has come before it, most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey. But it wears those influences like a crown, and acknowledges just how far we have come, while still paying tribute to those films. There are so many science fiction staples – robots with personalities, planets that are covered in the roughest of elements, Matt Damon as an astronaut (once again stranded on a planet alone), and of course, that most influential of science fiction themes, space travel. And not just jumping to the moon – I’m talking deep space, other galaxies, worm holes, and interdimensional space. This movie gets trippy, especially when discussing time and relativity.
And frequently, this science is held up. There were very few things in this movie that didn’t make sense, at least according to people like Stephen Hawking. And they look absolutely amazing. Outside of the aforementioned Odyssey, there are very few films that I feel have really done space travel like this. Nolan reportedly shot this in IMAX, and it shows, because the amount of definition is tremendous. When combined with Hans Zimmer’s score, the epic reality that is the space that our tiny planet flies through is nearly overwhelming.
The acting is tremendous throughout, with Nolan staples Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway giving stellar turns as the Brands, a father/daughter NASA team. Casey Affleck, Timothy Chalamet, and Jessica Chastain all give great performances, but Chastain steals the show in her scenes. It’s her balance that sells the scenes back on earth. But in space, only McConaughey is king. He’s amazing, allowing himself to be completely and totally vulnerable in the role. We see his every thought come across his face, his every weakness. The film is about space travel, but it’s also about the role that a father has in his child’s life, and how they can influence them in their presence and their absence. Without his ability to cry convincingly and sell the pain of being away, I don’t think this movie would have worked as well.
But it does, and there’s very little that goes wrong with it. I’m going to give it an “A”. Probably my third favorite Nolan film – check out my first soon during the continued Science Fiction month.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"