Interstellar

9.0 Overall Score
Plot: 8/10
Performances: 10/10
Visual Effects: 9/10

Incredible, believable performances | Evokes old sci-fi movie feel

Muddled ending

It’s been two full days since I saw director Christopher Nolan’s latest film Interstellar, and I still feel emotionally drained. This isn’t from the far-reaching ending or from some of the ideas behind the science of the movie, however. All I could think about leaving that theater were the emotionally raw, character driven moments that Interstellar excels most at. Nolan’s first true foray into science-fiction is an excellent ode to the genre’s movies of old, all at once evoking the ominous presence of space that encompassed Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the adventurous nature of Star Trek, minus all the aliens. Though the ending may be a bit off-putting, great performances and cinematic presentation more than make up for that fault.

Christopher Nolan has the reputation for producing some of the most thought-provoking blockbusters of the last decade, and Interstellar certainly lives up to it. The movie has some big ideas, like relativity, that could very well elude the audience to the point of confusion, but Interstellar does a good job of explaining (though sometimes too conveniently) the science behind everything. I’m no scientist, but the context worked well in terms of the plot, and I was never overly confused by what was happening, something that a lot of sci-fi movies struggle to balance.

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While Nolan’s direction was smooth and smart as ever, it was Interstellar’s cast that kept me rapt with attention throughout the film. Matthew McConaughey continued his “McConaissance” with yet another compelling turn as former NASA pilot Cooper. Nolan favorite Michael Caine was great as always as Professor Brand, and Anne Hathaway was solid as Brand’s daughter. Yet the two cast members who stood out the most to me were the young Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain as young and old Murph, respectively. Foy’s chemistry with McConaughey really helped drive how close the father and daughter truly were, and Chastain’s turn as an older Murph is very understated but emotional, much like her character in Zero Dark Thirty.

The best part of Interstellar, apart from the performances, is how well it evokes the feeling of older science-fiction movies. It has an episodic structure, multiple shots of the tiny spaceship with the incredible enormity of space surrounding it, and that adventurous feeling of searching for something new in our vast universe. This isn’t a world where we’ve already had contact with extra-terrestrials or have colonized another planet, this is a story about humanity looking up to the stars for something more, and there hasn’t been a science-fiction film in recent memory that brings up this sense of nostalgia like Interstellar. It really is a love letter to sci-fi as a whole, being all at once something original, yet still grounded in what science-fiction was built upon.

The plot of Interstellar works for the most part. Earth running out of food to feed the billions of people upon it is a scary thing to watch, especially since it doesn’t really seem all that far-fetched of a thing to happen to the real world. As seems to be the norm for Jonathan Nolan’s scripts, the plot is filled with twists, some of which work to great effect, others not so much. It all eventually culminates in an ending I will probably forever have mixed feelings about, but still respect for its ambitiousness. But more than anything, Interstellar is a character driven film, with a few emotionally raw scenes that either left my jaw hanging or my eyes swelled with tears.

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Stylistically, the movie is sleek, the cinematography most reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The flick is filled with lengthy shots of the ship in space, with Hans Zimmer’s booming score interrupted only by the deadly silence of open space. Even for a Nolan movie, Interstellar is surprisingly bleak. There is amusing banter between the crew-mates, and the ships robot TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) is hilarious almost every time he talks about his functions, but other than that Interstellar remains intense and emotional throughout.

Interstellar accomplishes everything it set out to do, even with its sketchy ending. It is entertaining from start to finish, has a brilliant cast, expert special effects, and pulls the heart strings with ease thanks to some truly great performances. It’s pretty hard to talk about everything that makes Interstellar so exceptional without spoiling anything, so a lot will have to be seen for yourself. But without spoiling anything, Interstellar is a great sci-fi with a smart message that really has to be seen to be believed.

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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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