Interstellar (2014) directed by Christopher Nolan
Sometimes a movie (or some other form of creativity) catches me at the right moment. Then it can change me, trigger me into a new orbit or just wake me up for a moment. Interstellar is one of those experiences for me. From the first five minutes I could tell I would have no problem sitting through the long ride through galaxies, wormholes and into a black hole. I had my reservations, The Guardian had given Interstellar lukewarm reviews and I do not love Gravity. Of course, what really pulled me to the theatre this time was Rust Cole (from True Detective), or Matthew McConaughey. He did not disappoint.
Matthew McConaughey plays a father who cries for his children in a distant galaxy, where he can see their video messages but cannot respond to them anymore. He goes to space to find a new planet for the people of Earth, when it is clear people cannot survive there much longer – but all the while he is trying to get back home to see his children. This struggle is tangible, heartbreaking and most of the time seems completely unrealistic. Cooper's (McConaughey) feelings of loss and love carried the whole film. There was no sex, drugs or rock'n'roll. Incompleteness, failure, survival and wonder were there though – in a surprising and magical way.
When you make a movie about space and people, you somehow always end up talking about death.
This is the case in Interstellar too. The movie pictures my biggest fear, which is to die and realise that we keep on existing, feeling emotions and even seeing what happens in the lives of our loved ones. That would be a nightmare. But in Interstellar the question of time and spacial experience is the more pressing one – what we see now is not all there is. Seeing a human face becomes the most significant experience you can have after years in isolation. Love becomes the dimension no one can predict with science. Interstellar is both understated and head-high-in-the-clouds imaginative. It's a blockbuster beauty and I'm already looking forward to Matthew McConaughey's second Oscar thank you speech – Hey hey hey.
I'm a Christopher Nolan fan, I've enjoyed most of his films. Inception left me slightly cold, although I've only watched it the once. Otherwise, I loved Memento, The Batman trilogy and The Prestige: these pictures are the acceptable and intelligent face of blockbusters and unravelling clues and plot twists on film. Insomnia and Following showed a small scale sign of the themes and style to come. Nolan is different than most mainstream directors (let's not kid ourselves here, that's exactly what Nolan is). He's decidedly old school in many respects (it must be that stiff upper lip exterior that gives me this impression), an addict to doing things 'the right way', creating spectacle with real people and objects (as opposed to CGI patchworks). What I haven't quite understood from critics (and especially critics of Interstellar) is the expectancy on some form of realism in Nolan movies. If we've learnt one thing from his pictures so far (especially the ones that delve into the sci-fi genre) is that Nolan creates worlds that don't really exist. Interstellar epitomises this: Earth cannot produce food anymore, corn is the last thing we are able to produce and farmers are premium in nurturing the food we need. Cooper (a nod perhaps to the Clint Eastwood like actor Gary Cooper from High Noon-also a movie dealing with concepts of time) is a widowed former NASA pilot who lives on his farm with his children and father in law. He has nightmares of a former flying accident and has a special bond with his daughter Murph. But Cooper is a man whose destiny has not been fulfilled and through a series of almost supernatural occurrences, he finds himself having to pilot the spaceship on a mission to the stars to find a new world and save humanity. The catch is that the mission may take many years, and Cooper has to leave his family. So Interstellar is all about time and the way it shifts and bends. But mostly, and this is important, Interstellar is really a film about family and missing loved ones.
|McConaughey brings the tears to Interstellar|
|McConaughey, Chastain & Hathaway|
|In space, no one can hear you cry|