‘Interstellar’ Movie Review – Nolan’s Most Ambitious
People go to the movies for a variety of reasons. Some go to see an interesting story; others go to see an interesting character. Some go to escape reality; others go to see a new reality. Some go to get stimulated; others go to be tricked. In a rewatch of Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (in preparation for Interstellar) I realized that being tricked – or being engrossed – is a truly unique moviegoing experience. Nolan, for better or worse, again succeeds in making a movie that is just as tricky as entertaining, just as character-driven as plot-driven, and altogether entirely engaging.
Interstellar is essentially an apocalypse movie. At the very least, the story takes place on the brink of an apocalypse as the Earth has found itself essentially out of resources.
Like many Nolan films, there is a bit of shrouded social commentary (ranging from our reliance on technology to our overuse of resources); although, Interstellar doesn’t seem to hide its commentary one bit. At times, it does feel heavy-handed but it’s encouraging to see a movie at least try.
Throughout the movie, a cash-strapped and previously defunct NASA is basically trying to solve the resource crisis before its too late. They enlist the help of an experienced pilot, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), to man a mission that uses Interstellar travel in order to reach another dimension with the hope that they can eventually save humanity.
If it sounds a little confusing it’s because it is. Nolan’s filmography could never be described as simple, so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to have another mind-boggling story. I can anticipate that the complexity of the story (especially when it deals with the relativity of time and space) could be used against the movie.
I’m a firm believer, however, that movies should try for more rather than less. A movie’s range (and ambition) can go a long way. And while I do admit to a Nolan bias, I must also admit that Interstellar does try to go a little too big at times.
The end result is a little like Cooper’s journey into space – messy.
This is mitigated, to some degree, by some absolutely stunning visuals and some really powerful moments – which range from heartbreak (which McConaughey does so well) to pure elation.
Just like with his social commentary, Nolan’s script (which he co-wrote with his brother Jonathan Nolan) also tries to hit on as many themes as possible. This includes a pretty strong father-daughter relationship, the exploration into the power of love, and the principle of sacrificing for the greater good.
There’s really a lot to connect with even if it may not all connect.
A big part of the recommendation process for me personally involves what I call the “rewatchability factor.” There tend to be a lot of one-and-done movies that seem to meld together over time. The sci-fi genre is as guilty of this as any other.
Interstellar does succeed in setting itself apart from the rest of the pack in the sense that it creates a wholly different experience than any other movie. I tend to point this out with a lot of different movies, but that shouldn’t take away any credit. Interstellar is a riveting film that doesn’t just call for your attention – it demands it.
I certainly can’t say that about many films a year, nor a decade.
In the end, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar simultaneously continues his wonderful resume and expands it to a whole new dimension (yes, pun intended). In some ways, this is a departure from where we’ve seen him go before. It’ll take some time to properly evaluate if this is his “best” movie, per se, but I don’t think that’s the right thing to talk about here. Instead, we should compliment him for his ambition, his vision, and most of all, his heart.
Interstellar is out in both traditional and IMAX theaters. Check your local listings for a showtime near you.
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