Film Review: Interstellar

From director Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is set in a future when our time on Earth is coming to an end. To discover whether there is a future for mankind, a team of explorers – including Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Brand (Anne Hathaway) – must travel among the stars through a newly discovered wormhole that they use to surpass the limitations on human space travel, on an interstellar endeavor in attempt to find a habitable planet where mankind can continue to exist.

Interstellar was one of the most anticipated films of 2014 but, for some reason, I didn’t share the enthusiasm for its release as most others did. I’m not sure what the reason for that was because Nolan is one of my favourite directors and there was no doubt that Interstellar was going to be anything but spectacular, but I’m glad that I didn’t over-think its potential beforehand. Maybe it was because there was so much excitement for this film that I took a step back, but whilst I still had high expectations, not over-hyping the film in my head was probably the reason I left the cinema in absolute awe.

Interstellar is ambitious, intelligent, and the pure definition of mind-blowingly good. It’s a thought-provoking film that will keep you thinking and have you thinking about for days after viewing.

Nolan already has a number of five-star films under his belt with the likes of The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Memento, and The Prestige, but Interstellar is so much more. You’d think it impossible for such a phenomenal director to step up, but Interstellar has masterpiece written all over it. The thought, dedication, and detail that went into this film is inspiring, and it’s films like this that remind you of why we love film so much. It’s also a film that makes me want to revisit 2001: A Space Odyssey and like it (let’s not get into that!) because you can see its influence and also see the similar influence that this film will have.

And it’s all down to the genre: science fiction. Sci-fi’s are certainly a hit and miss genre and they usually appeal to a typical audience. Some are hard to get into because of this, while others take away the depth a space adventure should have so that it can appeal to a wider audience. Interstellar certainly appeals to the wider market for many reasons, McConaughey’s lovely face being one of them, but it doesn’t skip on any emotional engagement or intelligence, or by the boundaries of believable and surreal, to do so.

Space travel itself is something we (as everyday people) will never really get our heads around, at least not to the extent that those who experience such endeavours understand it. The first half of the film in which we are part of the adventure is what starts to get your mind working. I sat in my chair feeling stupid – as if I were being educated – (which I don’t necessarily mean as a bad thing: there are a lot of scientific terms used but it’s difficult to get your head around the basics of space travel alone, so it was more of the marvel of trying to understand this than any feeling of being belittled) and also incredibly tiny (it’s not every day that you are reminded of how insignificant our world is in comparison to the infinite of the galaxy).

There is a lot of Interstellar‘s premise that goes straight over your head. The first half of the film in which your mind can comprehend as believable is incredibly insightful, but the second half of the film does lose its impact a little as the surreal nature of what’s happening is too much to take in. Maybe it’s not a film that we should try to believe as accurate, but it loses some of its engagement when you try to piece together the ending in comparison to the first of the film which could very likely be a future that humanity finds itself in.

Nevertheless, Interstellar is nothing short of brilliant. With last year’s space adventure Gravity taking our breath away, Interstellar goes even further. The special effects are incredible and the whole feel of the film, being both set in space and on a dying Earth, certainly has a Nolan edge to it. It’s dark, threatening, and brilliantly shows the desperation of these people and their situation.

And then there are the performances. Of course, having Matthew McConaughey as the lead character was a reason many of us were looking to this film. Not because he’s a bit of a heart-throb though, but because of the huge talent he has been showing lately with the likes of the first series of True Detective and his powerful performances in Mud and Dallas Buyers Club. Nobody would have imagined McConaughey to be the star he is today from his earlier roles, but he’s certainly one of the best around. Anne Hathaway also steps up as an actress showing more and more talent following on from her role in Les Miserables, Jessica Chastain shines, as usual, Michael Caine yet again fills our hearts, and young Mackenzie Foy gives a beautiful performance.

If you haven’t seen this film already (What are you doing?!) then get to it. Interstellar is not only my number 1 film of 2014, but it’s also made its way to the top ten of my Top 100 films of All Time list.

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