Christopher Nolan must have woken up one morning and thought – ‘I must do something more engaging, more lavish and more emotional than Inception and Dark Knight’. And that’s exactly what he has done with his latest offering, Interstellar. The sprawling 3-hour space opera is a much more riveting film simply because it is more personal.
Hans Zimmer must have likewise woken up with a similar thought. This is one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard to date, even better than Zimmer’s previous efforts, pairing so beautifully with the on-screen action you almost forget that there is a soundtrack.
Completing the trinity of wake-up thoughts, Matthew McConaughey, who tops even his award winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club as Cooper, the father who risks everything on a slim hope of saving what he has left.
You’re not given too much detail about how the epic dust storms started but you are given the details about their effect – the food supply is dwindling, the Earth is dying and the current generation will be its last. Space travel was eliminated years ago to focus on the generating a sustainable food supply. However a secret group of NASA employees have kept the program going. And as it turns out this program is much more important than anyone knows. Either the Earth can be saved or another planet must be located. Cooper, a space pilot turned farmer is asked to turn pilot again to explore potentially inhabitable planets. He does so with the motivation to save his family, but there are a number of plots twists that rise and fall, each is executed beautifully to keep the viewer engaged. And guessing how the end will unfold – Will Cooper save his family? Will he save Earth? Will he have to choose one over the other?
Nolan has propensity for playing with space and time dimensions to create complex story arcs. We saw this very clearly in Inception but that was merely a warm-up exercise to a story taking place in space. An hour in one place translates into a decade elsewhere. Time as a dimension to manipulate takes center stage and the careful viewer might be able to tweeze out the meticulously crafted plot twists before they occur. Good on you if you can, I was surprised but in retrospect they completely made sense.
CGI of space is extraordinary, particularly the visuals of traveling through a black hole, the orbit of a spacecraft around the rings of Saturn and a potential home which is a highly textured grey and white frozen landscape.
If you do have the IMAX option in your neck of the woods, do it. The visuals demand exaggerated screen space. The other advantage to IMAX is the more extreme sound, you will feel the reverberation of every take off and landing, not to mention the exquisite Zimmer soundtrack otherwise.
Hands down my favourite 2014 film.