Film Review: Interstellar (2014)


I return to blogging after many weeks off. As usual, my time away from activity was not altogether planned, but the product of the many responsibilities I have taken lately, and the many ideas and plans (good and bad) that I have pursued in the last few months. I come back after watching Interstellar just a few days ago, which is the first film I have managed to see in the theater in weeks. Below my review:

Whereas Nolan’s Inception drew me in the more complex it got, Interstellar’s own scientific construct is filled with holes that are not necessarily the fault of its creator, but of the theoretical science the film relies on to make its case. More often than I had expected, the complexity of the film felt superficial and even unnecessary because, at its core, the film is filled with great and moving ideas about existence, time and love that could have been explored a lot more simply.

I can’t say, for example, that I remember a film that dared to explore the mystery around the concept of black holes and how they behave (and I say mystery because a lot of the science is based on theories not yet proved). Not satisfied with that, Interstellar also adds onto it the concept of a wormhole, which is even more theoretical; and a lot of time-traveling stuff that can be hard to keep track of.

Up until now it may seem as if I did not like Interstellar all that much. However, it is not in the layers of complex fluff that I was caught on by the time I left the theater. Thankfully, I was more impressed by the boldness of Nolan’s vision, and by the intrinsic beauty of how love between a father and his daughter, or between lovers, can transcend space, time and reason. Like many other recent sci-fi films, Interstellar is also about time, and how skewed our perception of it may be. For a father and daughter, the passage of time is the enemy, as well as for the rest of humanity, which is running out of options.

As one would expect from Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is also a beautifully shot piece of cinema that, when combined with the score by Hans Zimmer, can make even the most mundane of sequences into a majestic and soaring spectacle. The special effects are purposely used to reflect a struggling human civilization on its last legs. They may not be as sublime as the effects found in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, but it does more than enough when it has to, delivering wondrous alien landscapes and awesome shots of stellar phenomena.

The cast, starting with Matthew McCounaughey as Cooper, does a solid job in carrying the heaviness of their choices which often means carrying the entirety of the weight of humanity’s last hopes. What is great about the relationship between him and Jessica Chastain, who plays his daughter Murph, is that the dreams and aspirations of an entire race are simplified and made small, focused on their personal struggles and on their desperation. Their battle to survive is not so much about self-preservation, but about fulfilling a personal desire to reconnect after many years apart. It is in these intimate moments that focus on the two of them and their relationship that the film soars to the point where it brought your humble author to tears.



1 thought on “Film Review: Interstellar (2014)

  1. Fair assessment Niels! Agree the time issues were interesting. Probably won’t make me top 10 of the year, but I enjoyed Interstellar as a spectacle on the big screen and was wowed on several occasions by Zimmer’s score and the visuals.

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