By Christian DiMartino
“Christopher Nolan has done it again.”
Ah, now there is a phrase that never gets old. I feel like I say that after every Nolan film, and that is probably because every film he makes is marvelous. So, it brings me great pleasure to say that with Nolan’s latest adventure, Interstellar, he truly has done it again.
Nolan, the visual mastermind behind The Dark Knight trilogy and mind-benders such as Inception and Memento, has brought us his most ambitious film to date. This is not your typical blockbuster; it is a big budget non-sequel/prequel/reboot with a brain. A rare form of entertainment these days. Clocking in at nearly three hours, it is a big, bold, and beautiful space opera that serves as sort of a love letter to one of Nolan’s favorite films, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, while telling a beautiful love story. It is a film that earns its runtime, unlike those aimless Transformers movies.
The film takes place in an unspecified future, and Earth, as we know it, is screwed. The food supply is running low, and the world is basically a dust bowl. Matthew McConaughey, fresh off his Oscar win for Dallas Buyers Club, is Oscar-worthy again as Cooper, a widowed former pilot turned farmer who lives on a farm with his feisty daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy, brief but brilliant) and his son, Tom (Timothee Chalamet). Murphy claims that there is a “ghost” in the house, so soon one thing leads to another and eventually this “ghost” leads Cooper and Murphy to an underground facility. What is this underground facility? Well, it is none other than NASA, which, in this movie, was considered a myth up until this point.
Running NASA is Cooper’s former professor, Brand (Nolan regular Michael Caine), Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), and Doyle (Wes Bentley), to name a few. Brand has come up with an attempt to save the world. What is his plan? Well, his plan is to travel through a wormhole in search of another planet to live on. He asks Cooper to do it, since he is, in fact, a former pilot. Cooper agrees, mainly due to the protection of his children.
I really cannot give out any more plot details, for a number of reasons. Knowing how secretive Nolan is, I am afraid that he will hunt me down if I reveal anything crucial. What I will say, though, is this: he has made something truly beautiful here. While making the most stunning sci-fi film in years, he has also made the most poignant family movie in a long while. It is a moving tale of the love between a father and his daughter.
This is one of Nolan’s best films, along the lines of The Dark Knight and Inception. I do not usually see the same movie more than once in theatres, but for Nolan I make an exception. I saw Interstellar twice last weekend, on Thursday and Friday (in IMAX), and both times it completely blew me away.
If my predictions are correct, this could be this year’s Gravity. In fact, this is even better than Gravity, and I loved that movie. This is worthy of many Oscars. Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Composer and frequent Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer has done yet another marvelous score, possibly his best. The visual effects are astonishing. The film is acted to perfection. The script, which Nolan co-wrote with his brother Johnathon, is insanely smart. If you are going to see it, see it in IMAX. Do not fight it; it is worth the money.
Nolan is my favorite director in the business, and I have loved many of his films. From what I have noticed from past reviews, there are two main criticisms towards his work. The first is that he cannot write compelling female characters. The other is that he is an “emotionally icy” filmmaker. In other words, his films are more visually satisfying than emotionally.
These “flaws” have never bothered me, because Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises, Mal from Inception, and Natalie from Memento were all fascinating, and I have found all of his films effective in some way. Regardless, it is as if Nolan has taken these criticisms and he has worked on them. Interstellar works wonders with both.
Murphy (the older version portrayed by Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain), in some ways, is hero of the story, and so is Amelia. I found both of these women fascinating. Here are two women who get to save the day, which, I have noticed, does not happen very often in a Nolan film.
As for the emotionally icy thing, I will say this: Interstellar did a rare thing to me, something that very few films ever do. It made me cry. It was pathetic, but I am not ashamed to admit it. As shallow as I am, I could not resist the power of this movie. Some might call it hokey, but I say otherwise.
There have been some great movies so far this year, such as Boyhood, Gone Girl, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but one thing is for certain: at the end of the year, Interstellar will be at the top of my list. This is a haunting, gorgeous, moving, and astonishing film that has stayed with me for the past few days, and might for the rest of my life. Remember what a phenomenon Inception was when it was released? This could be even bigger. This is a creative and smart movie, and even though some things still do not quite add up to me, it is still such a knockout.
This is hands-down the year’s best movie.