It’s finally time for one of the most awaited movie of the year. I mean, it is Nolan’s and that alone is enough to got me reeling with excitement even if Interstellar happen to be supported by only one of my faves – Anne Hathaway. But who cares: it’s Nolan, in Space!
When the dusts keeps piling up and the earth can no longer sustain itself, human beings have forget to look up. Their eyes are locked down on the ground, struggling to put something on their plate.
But it is in this time of distress that Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) have to pick up on the occupation that people have long since abandoned. He have to join Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) on a journey through a wormhole. Into another universe, to find another habitable place and save humanity from extinction. Even if he have to left his son Tom (Timothee Calamet and Casey Affleck) to be a farmer and his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain) insists for him to stay. He have to leave, even if he doesn’t know when will he come back, or if he will be able to go back at all.
To be honest, I was restless about this movie at first. Because when I watched it, it didn’t captured me the way Nolan’s movies usually did. It didn’t have that tight grip that compelled me to jump head first into the space with Cooper like I dove into the dreams with Cobb during Inception. I was partly convinced that Interstellar will be one of Nolan’s movies that I like the least. But then of course, Nolan bashed through my expectation and turn the table around, taking my breath away with ease and triggered all kind of emotions instead. During the last third half, that is. I don’t mean to say that Interstellar wasn’t good aside from the last third half, because it was. As expected of Nolan brothers’ screenplay, Interstellar was something else, infusing sci-fi and crapsack world with family drama. This isn’t just a story of the future of humanity, and it isn’t a story about a journey to the unknown part of space either. This is a story about a father who would risk everything in the hope of creating a better future for his daughter. Yes, his daughter and not his kids – because it is quite apparent in the movie that Cooper is more devoted towards Murphy than he is towards Tom. While the relationship between Murphy and Cooper is the main focus of the story, Tom is demoted to extra. Murphy is the drive in Cooper’s life, and Tom is….not as much, I guess.
Aside from that though, Interstellar does have an excellent story. It’s intriguing, it build up nicely and it explains the science quite clearly so I still can catch the Endurance instead of falling to Gargantua. It have one of the most brilliant checkov’s gun I have ever seen. A part of the introduction that I thought has served it’s purpose hurled itself back to me and oh, Nolan brothers execute it so deliciously that I can only say “…Fuck.” in amazement. The story developed into the direction that I wasn’t expecting and I know I should’ve seen it coming because it is Nolan after all, but I was still struck speechless by Nolan’s revelation. Nolan doesn’t only explore the space in this movie, he also explores humanity and how far emotions – both love and desperation – could drive a human to such extent. Cooper’s emotional attachment to his daughter isn’t the only thing that gets to shine here, others also have their moment.
Sadly, that is partly why Interstellar isn’t all that appealing to me: it seems to run on emotion. Now I am not against a heartwrenching family drama, but it just doesn’t bode well with me when all of the decisions seems to be based on the high of emotion. It sort of agitated me when out of nowhere it is stated that Amelia is in love with Edmund and that is why she prefer to go to Edmund’s planet instead of Mann’s. I didn’t see that one coming because, well, I didn’t see anything that could point out to that? It seems like something that is engineered just to deepen the conflict of choosing Edmund or Mann. And of course, put a brilliant women in the story only to reveal that her motive was love all along. Right. Way to turn her into a sappy lovestruck character. And “love is the only thing that transcend space and time” is far too hopelessly romantic for my taste, even if it turns out to be quite an important theme.
Or maybe I’m just too cynical.
But what Interstellar lack – or had too much of – in the story, it makes up with the breathtaking cinematography and goose bumps inducing scoring. I really really want to know where in the world or how the hell did Nolan manage to create such scenery in the different planets because it was simply awesome. Both Miller’s water planet and Mann’s icy one are stark contrasts to the dusty and gloomy earth. Also, both planets along with the vast dark space makes you feel hopeful in a way because it has the sense of liberation after being stuck in the soot covered land for so long. And the scoring, oh the scoring. Hans Zimmer could make everything – literally everything, I swear – turns into an exciting scene. He could make your pulse races and pumps your adrenaline regardless of what you see in the screen and it was just perfect. Interstellar wouldn’t be as much as a delight without his compositions. And just like Gravity, Interstellar once again give me the bile taste of absolute silence in space, making it all the more painful when you compare it with the explosive scenes.
Then of course, there’s the cast. Nolan once again gather the creme of the crop to be his puppet, and he pull their strings with such expert precision that they all deliver. Matthew McConaughey gave a top notch performance, and thank all the higher being he did because Interstellar relies heavily on his poignant rendition of a father that have nothing left but his kids and yet knows that he doesn’t belong in their current world. His constant torment is apparent and that one scene when he break down is enough to drove you over the edge. Hey, I cried because of him, and that says something. Anne Hathaway is also as amazing as ever, ranging from gleeful and charming to desperate and broken and even scathing. I seriously am glad that her character is being explored more than the other characters – even if it includes the star crossed lover thing with Edmund – because Romilly and Doyle feels more like a two dimensional character that got pasted on screen merely to fulfill the quota. Michael Caine is the authority figure that is able to move your heart so you’re willing to do the unthinkable and sacrifice everything, but that is expected of him, really. Casey Affleck manage to convey his bitterness very well, but that’s all I got from him since his character is demoted to extra anyway. Then there is Jessica Chastain, hateful and yet filled with longing, acting all indifferent but actually is just a little girl that lost his father down deep. Her Murphy is just beautiful with the right amount of angst, the way I like it. Oh, and Collette Wolfe’s Ms. Hanley is a scene stealer with her anti-intellectualism characteristic. Not to forget Bill Irwin that brought TARS to live, along with Josh Stewart as CASE.
So yeah, Interstellar does deliver, taking us into space and beyond with it’s journey. But it is as expected of Nolan brothers, and that is where it fell a bit short. It doesn’t exceed my expectations. Interstellar is a good movie, but relying heavily on emotion ease the suffocation anymore when the characters are faced with an important decision because they have done it before with the same amount of emotional investment. You got used to it after some times. And while I wouldn’t mind watching it all over again, Interstellar still lack that spellbinding quality of other Nolan’s movie that enthrall me so much, like Inception or The Dark Knight. It is good, but it surely does not make it to my top three Nolan films.
Director: Christopher Nolan. Writer: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan. Released on: November 6 2014. Casts: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine.