Interstellar English Movie Review

Feature Film | UA | Sci-Fi
It's a human drama, it's an end-of-the-world thriller, it's a spacetime odyssey, it's a big-budget action spectacle, and it's also a mind-bender. Clear 3 hours from your schedule this weekend and be prepared to get your mind blown.
Nov 7, 2014 By Piyush Chopra

A few months ago, it would've been hard to imagine myself not jumping with excitement at the prospect of watching a new Christopher Nolan movie. But truth be told, the thought of seeing Interstellar didn't have me writhing with pleasure, and not just because the brilliant Gravity is still fresh in our memories. The trailers failed to impress, and it didn't feel as if the film had anything new to say. Boy, was I wrong.

Interstellar marks Nolan's foray into space. The film is set a few years into the future when Earth has been ravaged by dust storms and crops are growing extinct one after the other. It is apparent that our planet cannot sustain human life for much longer. So, NASA sends out a group of scientists on an expedition through a wormhole to an alternate dimension in search of an inhabitable planet.

The film establishes it's own little peculiar anomalies that allow it to stand out from amongst other similarly set films. Humans are living in times when farmers are more valued than engineers, when the Apollo missions by NASA are widely regarded as a hoax to bankrupt the Soviet Union. Crops are growing extinct, but people still go to stadiums to watch baseball games.

A lot has been said about the high level of scientific accuracy of the film, but it manages to keep the science of space travel mostly basic and not that hard to follow. You can almost imagine Nolan going bright red from embarrassment as he directed a scene giving a layman's explanation of a wormhole. But despite that handicap, the film manages to stay a step ahead of you at most times.

Apart from the fact that they are astonishingly beautiful to look at, what makes the space travel portions so special is that they manage to surprise you every now and then with an unexpected twist or a new theory that puts the team's plans in jeopardy. Add to that blasts and crashes and spaceships and planets covered entirely in either water or snow, and there would be very few moments left when your jaw wouldn't be hanging from your mouth.

But despite the various curveballs that the film throws at you, there are times when you can't escape the feeling that there's some mind-warping twist around the corner. A Christopher Nolan film wouldn't be complete without it. And the man doesn't disappoint. It's during the climax of the film when he decides not to play safe anymore, and the film erupts in a convoluted twist that would do his own mind-bender Inception proud, and will surely have your head spinning with theories and counter-theories.

A futuristic setting of an impending apocalypse, coupled with space travel and elaborate special effects would make you think that Interstellar would be mechanical, that it would lack a personal and human touch to it. But in reality, it is probably the most emotionally charged movie of Nolan's career. It is now considered a widely-accepted fact that the man is a master of going big, and Interstellar is his extravagant space opera. But he never loses sight of the various players that make up the show.

He and frequent collaborater/co-writer/brother Jonathan Nolan pay due diligence in developing every single character. Even Matt Damon, brilliant in an unexpected small role, never comes across as a cardboard cutout, even though his characterization would've made it easy for him to be one. The Nolans show that they are equally adept at going small as they are at going big. They do everything within their power to keep you captivated throughout the substantial running length of almost 3 hours, and they succeed on most occassions.

Matthew McConaughey, fresh off his successful turns in Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, is in charge of the film both as the character of Cooper and as an actor. He's fantastic in every sequence that he features in; whether he's playing out his characters inner-conflicts, his dilemma whether to stay with his family or leave them to save mankind; or a man who increasingly discovers that all doors that lead to mankind's salvation are shutting one by one. He anchors the film through turbulent times and leads the way during the film's smooth sailing.

Anne Hathaway stars as a co-astronaut to Cooper. As always, the actress is charming and utterly convincing at best, sincere at the worst. Jessica Chastain plays the role of McConaughey's daughter (yup) and is captivating as she tries to do all she can from Earth to save her fellow human beings. The remaining lineup of actors sounds like the list of participants in a talent show: Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow and Topher Grace. All of them manage to do a good job, considering their miniscule screentime.

It's a human drama, it's an end-of-the-world thriller, it's a spacetime odyssey, it's a big-budget action spectacle, and by the end, it's also a mind-bender. The only thing it's not is Memento, by far my favorite Nolan film. But considering the bar that the latter film set, that's not something that I could hold against Interstellar, and neither should you. So, clear 3 hours from your schedule this weekend and be prepared to get your mind blown.

Piyush Chopra