Home >mint-lounge >features >Film Review: Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is a bit of Kubrick, a bit of Shyamalan and a bit more of Spielberg in his new inter-galactic adventure, Interstellar, co-written with his brother Jonathan Nolan. Like everything else in his opus—all requiring some amount of deductive juggling; sexy and inventive for geeks and serious cinephiles alike—Nolan’s visual pluck is unmatched. This mash-up of pop-philosophy, astrophysics and good old family values-driven melodrama is the director’s assured breakthrough to the popular spectacle, to the emotional populism of Hollywood blockbusterdom.

His scientists on a mission to find new galaxies don’t crash into, say, detached trans-Jupiterian objects and fight to stave them off, as perhaps would be the case in a Steven Spielberg film, but the three scientists on this odyssey do sob a lot, moping about home.

References to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) are unavoidable in any space movie made after it. Kubrickian references are aplenty, but Interstellar is without the subversive wit and metaphorical edge of Kubrick’s films, occupied, as Nolan is, with the physical end of this grand journey.

So not great news for those entrenched in the Nolan cult. Your favourite director is striding across to the red carpet.

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A still from the film

The work of Nolan’s effects team, most likely the best the world can have, is superlative, and along with the effects the cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema conjures up gorgeously surreal frames of outer space. Wormholes are things of pied, glittering beauty and massive water swells seem to hit right at you. The sound design juxtaposes silences, motor drones and a haunting background score by Hans Zimmer. I watched the film in an IMAX theatre, its technology no doubt making the experience immersive.

McConaughey, Hathaway, Damon, Chastain, Gaysi, Bentley and others in the cast are puppets in this grand design—their way of standing out is through emotion. McConaughey is the big daddy, the family guy till the last scene. Amelia gets an entire philosophical capsule to open on love: “Love is the only thing that transcends time and space"; “If love was about social utility, why do we love the dead?" Cooper has nuggets on parenting. Lines from Dylan Thomas’ poem Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light is a constant riff, complementing the film’s sentimentality.

There’s plenty in Interstellar for a geek and much for the passionate movie-goer willing to surrender to a space opera, a magnificent cauldron in which time, love, mortality, parenthood and astrophysics bubble and elegantly spill over.

Interstellar releases in theatres on Friday.

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