The film critics can’t stop talking about; Carmen Paddock tells us what she thinks about Nolan’s cosmic masterpiece.
The final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s personal ‘trilogy’ had a lot to live up to. Not only did it follow on from The Prestige and Inception – two highly acclaimed and popular films – but its release had been hotly anticipated throughout the year leading to the premiere.
Between Nolan’s insistence on a 35mm release, the initial posters and trailers which revealed little about the actual plot, the A-list cast, and the director’s renown, there were many areas where the sci-fi adventure could have failed. The hype, however, proved worth it; Interstellar is a meticulously, beautifully crafted personal tale set against a global catastrophe – intimate, intense, and life-affirming.
In a world where environmental disaster has wreaked havoc on the food supply, humanity faces extinction within one generation. Cooper, an astronaut turned corn farmer, seemingly stumbles across the coordinates to a top-secret NASA base – one bent on finding a future for humanity far beyond this solar system, let alone this planet.
Aside from a few places where it feels that important story elements were left on the cutting room floor of this 169 minute epic, the plot is unfailingly gripping and surprisingly poignant. The film follows his intergalactic explorations while his daughter on Earth fights for the people left behind.
The actors portraying the immense cast of characters deliver masterful, nuanced, completely believable performances across the board; Matthew McConaughey (who largely carries the film), Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, and especially Jessica Chastain deliver standout performances.
The production design, however, is perhaps the film’s crowning achievement. The detailed world created feels complete and all-encompassing, and this commitment allows the futuristic technology, parallel universes and time-collapses to seem entirely plausible. Nolan’s cinematography relies heavily on models (instead of CGI) and long shots of space, while Hans Zimmer’s dramatic organ music is starkly contrasted against scenes of complete silence, each serving the specific situation. Both of these owe a great debt to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The effect pays homage to classic cinema and the unfathomably vast expanses beyond our solar system.
Overall, Interstellar is a powerful piece of cinema – a thrilling adventure; a haunting reminder of our small, fragile space in the universe; and a testament to humanity’s will to survive.
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