Thursday, 6 November 2014

Film Review: Christopher Nolan's Interstellar

A grand voyage into deep space, a stellar effort to save humanity, all starting with an element that is scientifically incalculable, love. This is Interstellar, a film of immense proportion that, in a really good way, pulls you in intimately.

Interstellar is a film by Christopher Nolan of Inception and Dark Knight Trilogy fame. Pretty sure many people out there have heard of him. This film takes us on a journey of a lifetime, far into the reaches of the universe. It is the near future. Our Earth is dying. Humanity is on the brink of extinction. Food is scarce, save for the corns. Cooper, a widowed father of two, is fished out of his life as a farmer by his former employee, NASA to embark on a journey beyond the solar system known. With Dr. Brand, and the other members of the team, they seek to find a planet that can be the new place for all humans to colonise. Of course, a difficult choice needs to be made, so Cooper leaves his children behind, his son, Tom, and his genius but grieving daughter, Murphy. He wants to save them. He wants to save the humans. But is there something weird behind this pure-intentioned scheme?

Interstellar stars Oscar-worthy casts. This include Matthew “Alright, Alright, Alright” McConaughey, Anne “I Dreamed a Dream” Hathaway, Jessica “Hey, I Found Bin Laden” Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, and many others. Their portrayals of their characters are spot on. McConaughey is a really great artist, we can’t deny that. If you can’t believe his pain when he leaves his children, or when he cries seeing them grow up without him being there, or when he tries to understand and rectify the things around him, then there must be something wrong in your head. The first hour of the film is where he shines the most, with his believable bond with young Murphy (acted by Mackenzie Foy). Anne Hathaway (as Dr. Brand) also does not disappoint. Both Hathaway and McConaughey have a good on-screen chemistry, but it does not really border on love per se, more on the faith that they still have one another. But I think the main scene-stealers of the film are the two clunky, rectangular robots known as TARS and CASE. Trust me, they are as human-like as the rest of the characters, even if they don’t look like humans at all. They make the film funny in all of its sombre nature.

As a sci-fi movie that brings us into the space, the VFX is actually quite minimal. Whenever applicable, Nolan opted for studio sets, or real locations to add depths and realness to the story. As such, the set production’s realism is rather high. Real space chamber, real spacecraft, real lots-of-things. But the visuals of the space, they are astounding and just take your breath away. Wormholes, black holes, all space objects, are depicted in a really spectacular scale. You can’t help to feel how small you are amidst the grandeur of the space. The cinematography enhances the splendour of the story. The sound and music are not that extensive in the movie. The film stays true to the fact that sounds don’t propagate through space, and this is evident in some external spaceship scenes. The scores by the popular Hans Zimmer sound like the 70s or 80s sci-fi movies background music, and they fit the film perfectly. Listen to it, and you’ll understand what I mean.

The film has enough exhilarating, high-octane action to keep you entertain. There are parts in the movie that made me to be on the edge of my seat while gritting my teeth. Humorous moments are kept to the minimum. Granted, it’s a movie by Nolan, so that’s understandable. Most of the film’s funny scenes come courtesy of Cooper and TARS or CASE. What you can expect from Nolan is thought-provoking, mind-boggling stuff. This is a sci-fi film that touches a lot of the theory of Relativity (you know, things like gravity, space, and time), and deep space objects, so expect your minds to have a bit of exercise (which is a good thing actually). Obviously, Nolan won’t leave his viewers scratching his head over the movie, so adequate explanations are still given. But still, the film is still heavy, so don’t watch the film with your heads thinking about the recent problems that you face. You know, unpaid taxes, Mathematical equations, or marital problems and such. Also, don’t watch the film with your bladder full of liquid. The film is 169 minutes a.k.a. 2 hours 49 minutes long. You don’t want to miss even a second of the film.

At the end, the heart of this epic film is the human scale of it. Against the vast dark abyss of the space, there is a sense of belonging and hope to the entire humanity. Grief and regrets are here and there in the story, but we still hold on the dreams of surviving even in the harshest of times. It is a tale that sparks our mind on these questions: are we able to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment to the ones we love, even if the sacrifice takes a toll on them? Are there chances for us to forgive ourselves? The bleak future of all humans is possibly not even the end. Maybe we can look into two places to seek for the answer: the sky above us, and inside the hearts of those we love.

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