Interstellar – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

InterstellarInterstellar – 4/5 – Nolan films; they go beyond typical comprehension.  Even so,  they feel so real because of the ‘experience’ created within.  No matter what kind of story he tackles, he forces things that provoke thoughts that you would have never had going into one of his films.  For all that can be mentioned, from the most amazing (Inception) to the most beloved (The Dark Knight), his films keep that one connective course of ‘experience’.  With that said, Interstellar is another film that you can add to his collection.  No matter what is said about the ups and downs found in this film; the journey is worth everything.  Interstellar has pushed me into realms I found unimaginable; and defines why Nolan is the most thought-provoking director of our lifetime.

Premise: The world is faced with near extinction.  With so much on the line, one man (Cooper) must embark on a journey that will take him into the far reaches of space; where he must learn to keep his connection intact; and find a way to look ‘beyond’ to find the proof for humanities survival.

The acting is a mix bag of ‘amazing talent’ to ‘typecast.  Leading the way is Matthew McConaughey as Cooper.  He is man with many talents, but is forced into a ‘farmer’s role’ because of circumstance.  His ‘ideals’ of being explorers and going beyond what is the norm is what helps creates the complexities of his character.  That deep conflict of ‘doing right’ by his family is not what he feels is the ‘right thing’.  That raw emotional thread is very ‘up front’ and ‘personal’ for him and the audience.  When faced with the a ‘specific’ plot choice, you feel that choice as your own struggle.  As the movie moves along, you are ‘bonded’ to his struggle as they go beyond the Solar System to other worlds and galaxies.  There is much to discuss (mostly in the story) but as a ‘stand out’, McConaughey simply shines in this role.  The complexity is kept grounded; as the subtlety makes you believe there is ‘more’ to this journey.  The rest of the cast you can find on the IMDB page, but I will point out two in the supporting cast.

Jessica Chastain – Adult Murphy

Anne Hathaway – Brand

These two actress do a great job in helping provoke thoughtful meaning in the experience, and relationships they have with Cooper.  The Murphy/Cooper relationship is the core thread that pulls throughout this whole film.  For how much the ‘younger’ version of Murphy sets it all up, the ‘Adult’ version created through Chastain is what grips you to the ‘father/daughter’ situation.  That experience is vivid and upfront. This helps create that ‘paralleling’ ideas that are introduced to blend with their purpose.  Hathaway’s Brand is Cooper’s partner in space, and she brings about a ‘humanistic’ complexion to the whole theories and science ‘mantras’ introduced.  She shows what can be possible if it is possible, helping you close in why she is important to the journey, and to Cooper himself.  She shows that there is more at stake, and she gives Cooper the ‘rod’ to continue on.  With the rest of the cast, they are your typical typecast for what you would call ‘broad strokes’ of science fiction.  You have your typical astronauts, scientist, ‘caught in the mix’ humans and some ‘double crossing’ villains.  They might take you out of the film for a time, but the experience of the ‘total package’ does drown out their familiarity.

The direction of this film is one that takes the approach of taking complexities and grounded them in linear storytelling.  When a director like Nolan takes the approach of pushing beyond the thoughts of our own realities, he puts the audience in a position where we see a mix of contrasting the ‘common’ thought of what we think and making it feel real before our eyes.  With a mixture of both visual allure and focused immersion, you get how he takes typical directive tropes of ‘connections’ and ‘fight for struggle’, and spins them in with an imaginative creation.  He provokes the audience into thinking what may be impossible is possible.  As mentioned, the linear storytelling takes the approach of the typical build up, bulking experience and ultimate confrontations that creates a climax that will either be breath taking or too much to understand.  I’m giving broad strokes so I can give my readers an idea of the film before I lead into spoilers.  Majority of the time I can write descriptions without spoilers, but I cannot with this film.  With that said, the next part might be considered spoiler heavy.


As we begin, the first 20 or 30 minutes (First act) has the typical buildup of a prologue that introduces us to what provokes the rest of the cast to go into the stars.  The world as we know it is at a point where life is on the brink of extinction.  Along with this, we get the introduction to Cooper, his family and the rest of the cast (gradually).  Within this first part, we are force fed a strong dose of exposition and convenient reasoning of why, what and where things will occur.  There is a heavy dose of predict tropes of ‘messages’ and ‘purpose’ that comes into play later.  This can cause the film to drag, but it eventually subsides when we get into the bulk of the film.  Once we finally moved past the ‘trigger’ that leads our explorers into space, that is when the ‘depth’ of the experience begins.  Here (second act) we are lead into general space exploration, combined with the theories of relativity, time/space and higher dimensions.  Nolan uses complex ideas, but finds a way to ground them into something more believable.  Even after another dose of heavy exposition, that ‘constant’ point for the audience is Cooper and his emotional connection with his family.  He knows they do not have much time, and every minute can mean the death of everyone back on earth; especially his family.  With the constant struggle, you are gradually becoming emotionally attached to the characters, feeling the constant wrangling of the exploration, theories and the ‘visually’ stunning creation and sometimes unheralded space, worm holes and other unexplained phenomenon. With the film starting to focus more on the science and theories, you see how these becoming part of the inherit struggle of being human.  This is when you find that that worth wild experience that defines a Nolan films.  Even as he does a great job at delicately balancing everything (even if convoluted sometimes), everything comes to head into one focal point (third act); when Cooper is faced with decisions of pushing for the ‘third’ planet with what is left of his crew.  He sacrifices himself into the black hole, where we move ‘beyond’ the trusted ideas of what we find tangible, and head into deeper exploration about existence, singular purpose, connections and what ‘time’ really is to us vs. ‘them’.  The contrasting of who ‘they’ are to what ‘we’ are puts the audience in a very fragile position of questioning existence; which (in turn) makes you unequivocally love and hate what is being provoked inside; in what you may and not believe.  In that one specific moment with Cooper, trying to understand what is the ‘5th dimension’ makes you (as an audience member) try to grasp something that’s unimaginable.  In the interweaving that comes about (even if it’s an obvious use of predictable plot devices of the ‘nature’ of time) that crutch helps give you the reasoning of what you’re seeing.  This brings purpose even if it feels arrogant; where you (even if it’s after the film) eventually understand that purpose of what is particular just is.  This is where Nolan is such an amazing director; where he can take the intangible and grounds it to acceptance.  To accept the unknown is to analyze reality.  What is divine? What is faith? What is loving and that beyond connection?  The comprehension of the immeasurable is measurable; but in something beyond what we know.


As the film comes to a close, the only complaint I can say (even if a little) is the ‘force fed’ nature of all the exposition.  Leaving things unexplained would have made the film an even more original experience, but because everything is ‘explained’; the predictable nature of certain plot devices are way too obvious.  Even for this gripe, the experience as a whole is still wonderful.  That epilogue is thought provoking.  It makes you see what makes humanity ‘fragile’; and how it shows hearts can transcend time.

The visuals of this film are probably some of the best I have seen since Gravity.  The immersion (as mentioned early) is Nolan’s ‘bread and butter’.  He takes us into ‘specifics’ with the camera angles on points, while creating ‘realistic’ moments through the use of these gradual scopes.  He puts a personal touch on the vastness of space, while creating the illusion of something that is ‘beyond comprehension ‘tangible’.  The creation of space, galaxies, worm holes and the black hole makes you feel things are possible, even if it borders on science fiction.  The score is just, if not better, than some of the music I have heard in other Nolan films.  He creates a ‘subtle’ pulse for specific moments, where it helps blend the impossible into the probable.  You feel emotions as ‘fear’, ‘anxiety’, ‘love’ and ‘determination’ even if it feels like not.

Interstellar is a film that may go above some people’s explanation of existence and life; but this is a film worth the experience.  In the vein of Inception, The dark Knight Trilogy and The Prestige; this film will take you on a journey of ‘thought-provoking’ possibilities.  If you’re a fan of Nolan, you must see this.  Even if you’re not, you should still go see it.  This film can be a ‘defining’ moment in both art and cinema experience.

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