Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan (Cert 12, 168 mins, Warner Home Video)
‘Epic’ is probably the best adjective to use when describing Christopher Nolan’s breathtaking science fiction film.
Not only does Interstellar offer an adventure that explores the vastness of outer space, it offers up huge ideas about time-travel, love, sacrifice and human ambition.
The film begins on an Earth that has been ravaged by a crop blight. Our food supply is gradually disappearing and ex-military pilot and astronaut Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) has turned to farming to help solve this problem. It’s a rather mundane start, with documentary-style talking heads explaining the planet’s situation, but something strange is happening to Cooper’s family. His daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain) is convinced that a ghost is trying to communicate with them. Cooper is sceptical but the “poltergeist” leaves them coordinates in gravitational waves, which lead them to a secret NASA base.
There, Cooper is convinced by an old college professor, Dr. John Brand (Michael Caine), to leave Earth with a group of astronauts (David Gyasi, Wes Bentley and Anne Hathaway) and travel through a wormhole in space in search of a new planet for humankind.
With awe-inspiring special effects and a mind-expanding script Interstellar is reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and may actually be better. The tale is packed with ideas about space-time and multiple dimensions, but it manages to keep the viewer engaged with a high-stakes adventure storyline and deeply moving plot developments.
For all the talk about relativity and black holes it’s a very human movie. McConaughey and Hathaway give superb performances as their characters’ stoicism is relentlessly tested by their longing to see their loved ones again. Their decisions become agonizing when they realise that, thanks to ‘gravitational time dilation’, a few hours for them on one planet will mean that decades pass back on Earth.
It sounds nuts but it all makes perfect sense within the context of the plot and the best way to understand it is to see it yourself.
At 169 minutes Interstellar certainly isn’t a short movie. But, as this extraordinary film makes clear, some things are worth sacrificing a bit of time for.