If it is not obvious by this point, Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. Since “Following to Inception,” his career as a director has not only garnered him awards and appraisal but respect within the film community which is rarely afforded to those as young as Nolan. His latest film, “Interstellar,” lives up to the standard set by his work as not only a love-letter to science fiction, but also his compulsion for good story-telling.
Nolan’s credentials have attracted a team of artistic geniuses who have collaborated with him to make some of the best films of the last decade. Be it the cinematography of Wally Pfister or the music of Hans Zimmer, there are always standout elements behind the nuance of his films, which is a credit to the dream-team they have assembled.
“Interstellar” lives up to the successes of Nolan’s previous films with a compelling narrative, gargantuan imagery and a dramatic score.
The film is set in the near future where worldwide famine is shortening the food supply. As professor Brand (Michael Caine) explains, within one generation the Earth will no longer be able to sustain life. This prompts the remnants of NASA to launch a final attempt to save the planet. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) pilots an expedition through a recently discovered wormhole in order to survey and colonize new worlds.
The opening of the film is filled with landscape shots of agrarian society on Earth which could stand alone as beautiful stills. Though at times the crew is trying to calculate time-dilations or fuel efficiency, we never seem to forget the fate of humanity is at stake because every act these characters take is vast, both visually and in importance.
Aesthetically, this film attempts a daunting task: to portray the size and beauty of other worlds and galaxies. It succeeds with painstakingly detailed computer generated imagery (CGI) and the expansive scope attempted with the lens of the camera.
Though the screenplay could be read as a hard science-fiction novel, Jonathan and Christopher Nolan write about struggles and trials which would arise in such extreme circumstances. It is exciting to watch as they attempt to conserve resources—even time—during their expedition. Details regarding the science of their mission do not clutter the story, but instead add tension to every aspect of the mission in such a way that would impress the likes of Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven. The science of the film takes a back seat to the personal conflicts of each character and their emotional states when they, their planet and their loved ones are in danger of extinction.
The pacing of the film is erratic. At times it seems to drag on with nothing happening, possibly a result of the extra attention to visual and scientific detail or the film being nearly three hours long. With sequences which hearken back to the slow tranquility of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” this film takes its time with shots to portray the solemn beauty of space.
“Interstellar” is an emotional roller coaster and spectacular visual experience: a must see for any fans of science fiction or quality narratives.