Barton’s Movie Reviews – INTERSTELLAR

It is finally here. The most anticipated film of 2014 has arrived and believe me when I tell you it is quite something to behold so I urge you to find the nearest IMAX possible.

Interstellar is the latest film from director Christopher Nolan and quite frankly you would have had to have been living under a rock for the past few years to not know that it was coming out. 

When Christopher Nolan makes a film people get excited, it’s that simple.

Throw in the fact that Interstellar sees Nolan making a film involving space-travel and the chance to work with Matthew McConaughey and there are more than enough reasons to get excited.

Interstellar is set in the near future where Earth is no longer able to sustain humanity. The planet has been ravaged by dust and food is running out. Farmers are more important than ever and they try their best to grow crops however, with the conditions the way they are and likely to worsen, it won’t be long until nothing will grow.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former NASA test pilot and engineer turned farmer who lives with his family; Tom, his son who wants to have a future as a farmer and Murphy, his bright daughter who shows a passion for science.

Cooper is recruited by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) to pilot one last NASA mission through a wormhole in space to find a habitable planet for humans to move to. Cooper and his crew, consisting of Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Romilly (David Gyasi) and two multi-purpose robots TARS and CASE, travel through the wormhole and explore the new worlds to find out if they can sustain human life.

The most impressive thing about Interstellar is the sheer scale of the film. It is as grand and ambitious a film you are likely ever to see and Nolan is clearly paying homage to films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey but don’t think for one second he is just copying it.

Nolan’s ambition was to make a film that made people fall in love with cinema, just like he did when he went to see 2001: A Space Odyssey as a child. It is this that gives Interstellar such a personal feel. Nolan really does reach for the stars.

Interstellar is written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan and you could be forgiven for feeling the story is pretty hard to follow. They wanted the film to be as scientifically accurate as possible so consulted with theoretical physicist Kip Thorne in how to go about explaining the theories of time and relativity in space. I mean if we are going through a wormhole, Nolan would want it to feel plausible.

The trouble is that Interstellar may end up being a little too clever for its own good and could be in danger of alienating its audience at times. There is a lot of scientific explanation throughout the film and some of it really does just go in one ear and out the other. Following the film was no problem for me but you will have to be zoned in the whole time, which isn’t such a hard thing to do when watching a Nolan film. 

Where the science may lose some people, the human side to Nolan’s story will certainly bring them right back down to Earth. Interstellar has a number of relationships forged throughout but the key one is the relationship between Cooper and his daughter Murphy. As big as the film is, it is a couple of moments shared between these two that packs a real emotional punch for its audience. 

I can never accuse Nolan of sacrificing narrative for spectacle in his films and by no means does he do that here. My only qualm with Interstellar is that the story is a little weak compared to his other films.

Spectacle has a huge part to play in Interstellar and some of it will actually leave your jaw dropping to the floor. Masterful CGI and practical effects are combined to great effect, giving Nolan’s sci-fi epic that grand feeling. The IMAX format will leave you fully immersed and much like Gravity last year, you might start to believe you are in outer space.

Nolan’s imagination is captured in truly spectacular fashion and with the aid of some gorgeous cinematography from Hoyte van Hoytema, Interstellar could just be the best looking film of the last decade. Hoytema creates a desolate and gritty feel to an Earth covered in dust while giving space that feeling of wonder.

Interstellar is the latest Nolan film to boast an impressive ensemble cast and in Matthew McConaughey it has the most in-demand actor working in Hollywood today. McConaughey is in dependable form as Cooper, delivering a performance that captures the experience and curiousness of Cooper’s character. 

He is almost outdone by the young Mackenzie Foy, who plays his daughter Murphy in her early years. Child actors can sometimes be annoying but Foy is the opposite. She manages to hold her own and delivers an impressive performance, particularly in the scene where she says goodbye to her father, there may not be a dry eye in the audience.

Interstellar also has solid performances from Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand, Jessica Chastain as an adult Murphy and Casey Affleck as an adult Tom. Unfortunately there was one performance that bugged me and surprisingly it was that of Michael Caine as Professor Brand. He delivered his lines so statically it felt like you were watching Caine struggle to remember his lines.

Another Nolan film means another collaboration with Hans Zimmer to compose the film’s score. With Interstellar, they wanted to create an entirely new sound that would fit the themes of time and love. Zimmer once again works wonders to create a powerful score that more than adds to the size of the final film. 

While Interstellar is not the masterpiece some people were hoping for and by no means Nolan’s best film, it is a film that asks its audience to think along the way. Nolan doesn’t like to serve everything to his audience on a plate and he should be praised for this approach. Interstellar is a film that needs to be seen on a big screen to be fully appreciated so please, get down to a cinema to see it.

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