“You might have to decide between seeing your children again, and the future of the human race.”
Interstellar – the latest mind-bending chapter in acclaimed auteur, Christopher Nolan’s, enduring quest to out-do himself with each and every picture he produces. Naturally, of course, that should be the staple of any filmmaker worth their salts’ motivation. However, only a select few are so auspiciously adept at it that they continue to prosper unhindered, but with this multi-dimensional, instinctively fuelled space-time epic, a la Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Nolan definitively cements his rightful place among them.
Many who are sceptical of the inherent accessibility of a narrative required to draw frequently from the broad spectrum that is quantum physics, may think it best to shy away from seeing this film. Yet their preconceptions would be undoubtedly misplaced, as for the most part the seemingly complex concepts of space-time, black holes and higher dimensions are all combined as part of the core driving force for what this story of survival is truly about.
Now, by no means am I insinuating that all of the space travel, planet-falls and time-shifts are a façade covering what’s important, rather that it is an appropriate juxtaposition of what all human life essentially revolves around: our relationships. Especially those of which mean the most to us. Our male and female leads, for instance, Coop and [Amelia] Brand, portrayed exquisitely by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, at times find themselves both galvanised as well as misguided by their love and loyalty towards another. Coop shares a bond with his daughter ‘Murph’, glowingly embodied by Jessica Chastain, so raw and indomitable that it transcends the pure fabric of time and space itself. While Amelia and her father – Professor Brand, brought to life by longtime collaborator of Nolan’s and national treasure, Michael Caine – share a relationship that becomes a culmination of wilful protection and noble sacrifice.
Not unlike Skyfall’s use of Tennyson’s Ulysses as a tantamount narrative, during the film, Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night is referred to a number of times, particularly by Caine’s character, Professor Brand. My reasoning for likening the two is of course due to the respective pieces’ relative subject and message being synonymous with the films they appear in. Both have a core motive of evoking the passion and persistence of the human survival instinct and our pathological urge to explore, to strive for discovery and progression, in tandem.
Even during scenes that are required to be somewhat devoid of sentiment and instead fully focused on the mission at hand, Hans Zimmer’s masterful score that encompasses Nolan’s spectacular imagery, instills an incredibly potent aura of anticipation and apprehension while also adding an entire new dimension to the immersive experience of the film especially when seen in IMAX.
In a single sentence: Interstellar is a consummately mesmerising, breathtakingly exhilarating, spine-tingling emotional rollercoaster, by which one of the great directors of the 21st century has pushed the boundaries of modern cinema once again with outstanding success, resulting in what is one of – if not the – most astoundingly brilliant film I’ve ever seen.
Words by Alex Graham