Interstellar has been touted as one of the best films of the past few years with its fantastic plot, writing and setting, while also being directed by Christopher Nolan, one of my favourite directors. Nolan is able to portray the outer reaches of space with both the way the characters experience it and the beautiful CGI world he has created. This review will cover aspects of the film that I feel really deserve some merit, as well as areas that hold it back from becoming one of the best films of all time.
The plot of Interstellar is actually a fairly simple one. The world is endangered in the not-too-distant future by something called ‘The Blight’, a disease that is slowing killing all the edible food on Earth, and time is running out to find food sources to sustain all of human life. Cooper (played my Matthew McConaughey) is tasked with saving the world by taking a ship through a wormhole in the outer reaches of our solar system. His crewmates Brand (played by Ann Hathaway), TARS the robot (voiced by Bill Irwin) and others, must take this ship across time and space to save the human race and find them a new world to inhabit. Cooper’s story is the most interesting, in my opinion, because he is caught between saving the human race as a whole and saving his family. The film uses a lot of physics jargon to explain complicated plot points like this, but, to put it simply, if he wants to see his son Tom and his daughter Murph again, he must find this planet fast enough order to get back before they grow old or the humans die of starvation. Cooper is often given complicated decisions to make, where he must choose to risk his family for the good of the human race or to try to return home to spend the few years he will have left with them. Brand also has an interesting story, she follows Cooper into space because her father Professor Brand (played by Michael Cain) told her she must continue his research for the good of mankind. Professor Brand promises to solve the equation of gravity to allow more people to leave earth, while she ventures into space with her party in order to find the planet they need. At this point this plot really begins to thicken, as all the characters begin to clash as they all have different motives while on the adventure. Saying any more than this would ruin the plot because it becomes so detailed, but just knowing that the film is directed by Christopher Nolan (who also directed films such as Inception) will give you clues to the size and complexity of Interstellar’s story. It takes multiple twists and turns and the acting is incredibly well done. Highlight moments would include the relationship between Murph and Cooper over the duration of the film and how it will most certainly pull at the heart strings of most people, giving a believable sense to the story even if it feels like such an alien setting.
Where the film does fall down plot-wise is when the science starts to get far too complex for your average viewer to fully appreciate it. Many scientists and film critics have pointed out obvious plot holes and creating scientific facts that don’t really exist in the real world. As you watch the film sometimes you do question how certain things are possible, particularly the ending which is almost super natural instead of being a true fact of science. However if you take the film for what it is, instead of being a scientific documentary, you can really appreciate the quality of acting that Christopher Nolan has managed to capture for this deep space journey.
Sound and Setting:
The setting of the film is really split into two parts: earth and the deep reaches of space. Both have very different feels, but both are still very captivating none the less. Earth feels very desperate at times because of the terrible blight that comes across Earth very frequently. It crosses towns like a great sand storm, making visibility poor and causing the people of Earth to get horrible illnesses. But once the storm has passed the world looks beautiful again, with rolling corn fields, distant mountains, deep blue lakes and the stars that stare down at us in a quite ironic fashion. Nolan has really managed to capture Earth in both a scary and beautiful way and makes the viewer wonder if leaving Earth is right choice for mankind. Then we move into the CGI space Nolan has created, which as you expect is absolutely breath taking to look at. As Cooper and his party cross through the worm hole, great flashes of light and planets rush past the screen in almost breathtaking fashion. And once the ship stills in this distant galaxy, the black hole “Gargantua” reveals itself. This moment was the highlight for me because the black hole was so incredible to look at but was also such a devastating force that shouldn’t be disturbed. While in space, a number of planets are visited and all of these planets have one recurring theme: they seem so alien and lifeless. This makes the viewer realize how much of a daunting task Cooper and Brand have to undertake in order to save the human race, and in this way Nolan should be credited for good art direction. As for the sound, again Interstellar shines with some truly breathtaking music that pairs incredibly well with the setting Nolan has created. With a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, who also did the soundtrack for films such as Inception, he manages to capture the emptiness of space and the desperation of the human race very well. Particularly when moments are at their bleakest, the music does well to reinforce this with a fantastic use of a full orchestra and really captures the essence of the desperation of the characters.
To put it simply, I love Interstellar. While I watched Cooper and his crew travel through the depths of space, all I wanted to do was get in a rocket and go with them. The acting is believable, emotional and relatable throughout and this really helps the deep plot of interstellar shine. To top it off the world of interstellar is gorgeous and really manages to grasp the audience, especially when paired with the phenomenal soundtrack. If you take Interstellar for what it is, which is a film and not a physics lesson, you will surely be in for a fantastic ride.