by Cole Pirwitz ’16
Interstellar is not Christopher Nolan’s best film. It’s no Dark Knight (2008) or Inception (2010). That being said, it is still one of the best movies of the year, with what the Nolan brothers add to make it a solid movie. Interstellar captures the ambition and complexity of space, yet oversimplifies the very nature of time. Nolan makes it puzzling but simplistic, gorgeous but complex, amusing but saddening. The ambition that makes some parts so great is also hurts some of the less successful parts. Add another beautiful score from Hans Zimmer and one of Matthew McConaughey’s best performances, and you get Interstellar.
Opening on Earth at an unspecified date sometime in the future, a second coming of the Dust Bowl and a depleting crop, Earth is a dying planet. Cooper (McConaughey), an ex-pilot for NASA, works day in and day out on his farm to provide for his two kids and his father-in-law. When his daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), complains about her “ghost” in her bedroom, Cooper investigates, leading him to a secret government project, led by NASA, to go into space. Once he accepts this offer to leave, Cooper and Murph’s relationship changes forever.
Leaving Murph and his son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) in the care of his father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow), Cooper sets out to go beyond this galaxy to find a new home for mankind through a worm hole. With the help of Professor Brand (Michael Caine), whose life work was dedicated to finding a way off the Earth, Cooper is launched into space with a crew consisting of Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), two other inexpierenced pilots (David Gyasi, Wes Bentley), and a robot (voiced by Bill Irwin). The task is to get through a wormhole and locate an inhabitable planet so mankind doesn’t go extinct.
The casting had two different feelings to it. The first is amazing, how the connection between Murphy and her father was so touching and so real, that it made anyone feel for what they were going through. How McConaughey connected with Foy early on, and later with Jessica Chastian, was beautiful. The pain seemed real, the sadness seemed real, the love between father and daughter was like witnessing an emotional family connection in first person. McConaughey put on one of his best for this movie, and was really the anchor of it, always being consistently brilliant. Overshadowed in a way by such a good performance was the other feeling the cast gave off. Hathaway seemed to not be emotionally attached to her character, and her reactions to a lot of things were underwhelming and not how someone in such situations would react emotionally. There was no sadness in her eyes, or fire in her heart, it seemed like she was just there to be there. Also, the cameo performance by Matt Damon was unneeded. He took a very different role from what he usually does, now not being the brave hero of the story. The character was not a bad one, but Damon was a distraction, and an actor of less stature would of played it much better. Yet, overall, such a great performance by McConaughey really propels this movie foward, scene through scence, bit by bit.
Another thing that is torn is the plot line. It had ambition, yet it suffered from a lot unexplained story. It tried to get from point A to point B without saying how, without giving the clues to help the audience figure it out themselves. What the plot failed to bring was more information about the main journey that the audience needed in order to determine for themselves some smaller aspects. It wasn’t bad, that’s not it, but it suffered from not explaining the whole story enough. Yet, it is still very strong in the emotional aspects, using the strengths of the actors to enhance the already emotional feeling.
In addition to McConaughey’s performance, one of Interstellar’s strongest aspects is the musical score. Hans Zimmer puts another beautiful score together, really enhancing the overall atmosphere. The music almost felt perfect together with some sense, adding suspense when needed, and adding a more sobering tone when required. The masterpiece went together perfectly with the space scenes, almost adding something only music could add. Hans Zimmer did it again, adding a masterpiece of a score, but wasn’t that expected?
What this movie will be known for is its ambition. It amazes and also disappoints, but it is there. Space is always ambitious, but how beautiful it looked was truly breathtaking. Planets looked beautiful, the ships looked beautiful, even the darkness of space looked beautiful. The wormhole was breathtaking. It really made it an awe-inspiring moment when the small ship is contrasted next to the huge planet, or when the group enters the wormhole. The way it was shown and the way they showed how the characters interacted with it was amazing, it shows how the ambition pays off. For such ambition, the already long run time of two hours and 49 minutes, it seemed like it needed to be longer. For how big it was, it seemed rushed a lot to get back to the where the movie thrived most. It wasn’t allowed to develop, and it wasn’t allowed to be truly appreciated as each individual scene.
What Interstellar doesn’t live up to is shadowed by what it succeeds at. Interstellar is an ambition driven movie shows just how beautiful space could be, as well as how destructive humans can be, it shows that underlying human emotions rule supreme and through science breakthroughs give this movie a sense a close realism, but vast amazement, which I would rate a 8/10.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastian, Anne Hathaway
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release date: Nov. 7, 2014
Running time: 169 minutes
Image By: Paramount Pictures