I left the cinema almost in a state of shock…or perhaps shock isn’t the right word…bewilderment. Also with a sense of profound understanding…of what? I don’t know. All I know is that the feeling was comforting. I suppose it’s the feeling every film buff*(1) experiences after having just witnessed a piece of cinematic genius. I felt a similar emotion after watching Cloud Atlas, although perhaps not quite to the same degree. The difference is that while I appreciated Cloud Atlas as a piece of art, Interstellar had a consistent storyline which enabled the viewers to form a connection, and thus empathise with, the characters. Nolan (the director) urges the viewer to invest in the characters…and once he has you on the hook, boy does he pull at those heart strings. And the twist! The twist!? Well…that’s where it became both ludicrous and brilliant all at once. At that precise moment I felt like turning to my partner and saying “this is the ‘Inception’ bit”…but in reality, it’s significance was so much more than that of Inception because the twist is riddled with emotion rather than action…hence the knuckle biting. The scene commands your attention as you silently will McConnaghey’s character to survive and his daughter (‘Murph’) to piece it all together. As everyone can relate to the horror and fear at the thought of losing a loved one, this scene commands your attention as you want nothing more than father and daughter to be reunited. It is this fear that had me clenching my fists tightly and dreading the thought of ‘Cooper’ perishing.
Granted my desire for his survival may also have had something to do with the fact that I have been somewhat enamoured with (and weirdly attracted to) Matthew McConnaghey since ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.
Don’t get me wrong it dragged at times…it is almost 3 hours long after all, and one only has to look around on any tube/train/bus journey to realise us humans have reached an all time attention span low (I do in fact believe data now suggests the average time we can survive without checking our ‘me machines’*(2) is 9 seconds)*(3).
The science: I personally don’t feel that there was enough of this but that’s probably simultaneously both a good and bad thing. With Inception we were bombarded with the science behind it all, which in my opinion was unnecessary and subsequently overcomplicated a fairly simply premise – a dream within a dream. Interstellar however, left out certain explanations and executions of theories and equations, perhaps as a time saving ploy, or perhaps also so as not to deter away from character relationships and the emotive nature of the film.
The music: With Hans Zimmer acting as composer on the motion picture, you could expect nothing less than well-timed dramatic orchestral pieces intended to emphasize key moments in the storyline. While somewhat melodramatic at times, the music was integral to the cataclysmic nature of the movie.
(SPOILER in paragraph below)
The cast: Although initially I questioned the choice of McConnaghey as the world-saving hero, he played the part perfectly. His defiant, bold and cheeky manner countered Anne Hathaway’s straight-laced character and allowed for an entertaining back-and-forth between the two. Add to that Michael Caine’s heartbreakingly-honest performance and a rather unexpected villain by way of Matt Damon, and you’re left with an extraordinarily talented cast whose performances seem effortless.
The visuals: I’m rather disappointed that I didn’t watch the movie at the IMAX. Whilst I’m not particularly a fan of CGI effects and ‘made for 3D’ films, I cannot deny that the visuals in this movie were spectacular and the viewing experience would only have been enhanced by seeing it in 3D. Perhaps that would seem obvious for a movie set in space but I was honestly mesmerised by the extraordinarily vivid displays in certain scenes.
It’s not often that I right such an extensive review in which I dissect various elements of a film, however it’s also not often that I feel a movie has the perfect combination of action, drama, cast members and sound that warrant it the highest form of commendation.
*(1) The term ‘film buff’ is not one I am particularly fond of and yet I am unable to find a similarly suitable phrase for an avid film- watcher/appreciator
*(2) ‘Me-machines’ is a term I have borrowed from a book I have recently read entitled To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris. I didn’t think much of the story but I quite liked this reference to our smart phones/tablets/laptops
*(3) No such data exists, this is purely my own guesstimate.