Opening to much anticipation this Friday from director Christopher Nolan and Paramount Pictures is the visionary INTERSTELLAR.
It is Earth in the future where dirt, drought and sickness are caused by the changing climate. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a corn farmer living on the land with daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy), son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow).
Murph isn’t your average girl as she suspects there are ghosts in their house and has no problem calling out teachers. It is easy to see the apple doesn’t fall far from the family tree as Cooper backs up his kids wanting the best for them. That includes when Cooper and Murph discover a facility that is heavily guarded and what’s inside is more than they bargained for.
Cooper meets Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway) who inform him that they need him for a mission. In order to survive, a team of four will travel through a black hole in space to seek out a habitable planet, but it means leaving Murph and Tom behind.
Joined by Jenkins (Marlon Sanders) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) they travel farther than anyone but one hour is now seven years on Earth. Each planet they visit brings danger and uncertainty as Cooper focuses on returning home to his children.
Time is the one thing no one in the universe can control.
FINAL WORD: The most fascinating thing about INTERSTELLAR is that even with the cast performing exceedingly well, it is a brilliant combination of everything Nolan put on the screen that I love about this film. McConaughey as Cooper is a man dedicated to his family with an explorer’s heart. He portrays his character very well but once again that southern drawl and charm only goes so far.
Hathaway as Amelia plays a straight-forward explorer who has an agenda of her own. She begins to understand that what the mission looks like on paper and what actually happens are based more on emotion and less on science. Caine as Professor Brand is a man with an agenda for the planet and mankind.
The two performances I enjoyed the most are from both Murph’s. Mackenzie Foy as the younger Murph is just so smart and endearing at the same time. There are moments when she is on the screen that I forget she’s so young. There is something about her eyes that give the look of an old soul. That comes in handy playing this role. Chastain as the older Murph picks up, with ease I might add, where Foy leaves off. The smart and endearing, now mixed with unresolved Dad issues, it a strong role.
Other cast include: Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Elyes Gabel, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Collette Wolfe, Leah Cairns, David Oyelowo and the ever amazing Ms. Ellen Burstyn.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give INTERSTELLAR four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I have to honestly say although the performances were very good; it is the story itself that moved me. The cinematography and the score are something to marvel and rave about. Here’s the thing folks, I just don’t want to say too much about the film because I truly believe it is something to be experienced.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (yes, I went there) and there are moments where it sounds like you need to be but you don’t. If anything this film will be the cause of a lot of conversation after and about every single aspect of the film itself. I believe I had this same conversation with my brother after we saw 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and I have no problem at all having it again!
Only one thing space-making-filmmakers for future reference– just because the film is about space, it would be nice if you could keep the spinning down to an absolute bare minimum please, please!
In March of this year, Nolan had a lot to say regarding INTERSTELLAR but wasn’t about to give anything away. Speaking of his earliest memories of films as a kid he said, “One of my earliest movie memories was STAR WARS. When 2001 was re-released I remember the feeling of an other worldly experience. I had an extraordinary time being taken away to another world. I didn’t understand what it all meant at the time but I knew it was extraordinary.”
He also spoke of celluloid over digital films with, “I’m committed to film, not out of a sense of nostalgia but because film captures so much. Emotionally and as ethically people watch ‘film’ because it works. For me technology has to exceed what I want and nothing has done it yet. I feel a responsibility to the audience and to theatres to create something amazing. I have been in an audience in a theatre and seen the results. I don’t like that you can’t put a title up on the screen without seeing pixels. The resolution and contrast ratios have to get better!”
So with INTERSTELLAR he talked about the practice of using actual locations in his films as opposed to CGI locations. “In all my films I’ve felt that shooting in a real location lets the audience feel they are there. The camera gets something more and with much high quality than CGI. We built sets in scale and shot INTERSTELLAR like a documentary. That is a huge benefit for the actors and it was an exciting process to do.”
Finally, on working with exceptional actors like Matthew McConaughey, Nolan says, “He has such incredible potential and I have an inside track on how he will be in INTERSTELLAR. When you work with great actors, as acting is an odd craft when done really well, you see a completely different person other than who they are”.
For me, Nolan isn’t afraid to tell an entire story, even if it takes 169 minutes to do it. Raised in an era of the epic films, Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR definitely falls into that classic category! Taking the audience and bending them exactly like space and time itself, it may take a bit to come to the epic realization but it will be an awesome ride getting there.
In the end – mankind’s next step will be its greatest.