I’ve written about Interstellar on this blog before, but it just occurred to me that I never actually posted a review of the film! So, I figured, with Christopher Nolan’s latest work having been recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, this would be a good time to revisit it. Here, then, is the review I wrote immediately after the film’s initial release, which I have revised and updated for this post. MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
One of the main objectives of any film is to suspend the audience’s disbelief; to combine sound and visuals and story into such a cohesive and believable world that the viewer is completely engrossed and transported into the world of the film. From the very beginning of Interstellar, the viewer’s disbelief is subtly switched off, and they are invited to share in the characters’ firsthand experience of the events of the film.
One of the greatest triumphs of Interstellar is the level of believability it maintains throughout the length of the film. The inclusion of interviews from the 1930’s dust bowl ties the plight of this not- too-distant future to real events in American history and, more importantly, sells the idea early on that the events depicted in this film are plausible. Christopher Nolan knows that the audience needs to care about things on a deeply emotional level in order to have a connection to the film, as well as for character choices and the payoffs that occur later in the film to have more impact. He and his brother, Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote the film with consultation from noted physicist Kip Thorne, also recognized that the film needed to lay a solid foundation of accepted science in order to gain the trust of the audience for some of the leaps in imagination later in the film. Everything the characters experience, right up to the point where the film enters theoretical territory, is spot on.
This past weekend, an academy of aged white men told us which movies they liked best, and for some reason we all cared.
Look, I like an award show as much as the next guy. Actually, no. I really hate award shows. And the Oscars are no exception. Forgive me, but boiling an art form down to a room full of celebrities patting themselves on the back for how awesome they are rubs me the wrong way. To me, the self-congratulatory nature of award shows like the Oscars feels a little too obnoxious and unnecessary. But people put weight on these things, and on the Oscars more than any other award show.
For some reason, film is the art that is most heavily geared toward the retrospective award show. When a new album is released, no one wonders, “Will it be Grammy-worthy?”
The Oscars carry a lot of weight in the film industry, and people in the industry care a lot about the recognition that an Oscar brings. And so it is in this context that I bring you: rage.
Christopher Nolan is known for thinking outside the box. His movies reflect his innovative way of thinking and executing his ideas. All of his movies make you question both the protagonists and the antagonists. Is a person truly evil, or on the other hand, can a person be truly pure? Interstellar explores this question through the theme of detachment.
“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. The Dark Knight explores the moral consequences that being a one-man justice system brings. Inception uses camera trickery to enhance character development. The camera literally turn characters upside down, making it hard for the audience to trust their reality. Interstellar is the most sophisticated film Christopher Nolan has made, and it uses both of these methods to push its agenda. Every character in the film has to make a tough decision at a certain point. No decision in this movie is completely a good or bad decision. It all revolves around detachment.
The movie begins with the character of Cooper being detached from reality. He is dreaming about an accident he had on a space shuttle years ago. He wakes up to a not-so-distant future that has a dying planet. Earth only has a few more years before it is completely uninhabitable. NASA has become a secret and literally underground organization working on a plan to save humanity, so it is also detached from society. NASA has become a secret organization because the world decided to detach from technology to focus on agriculture as a last resort to try to preserve life on Earth. NASA has two plans. Plan A is to figure out a way to send the rest of civilization into space on a giant shuttle to continue life and detach from Earth. Plan B is to find another planet with preserved human embryos to restart the human race. Plan B would mean the destruction of the current human population.