|INTERSTELLAR (director/writer: Christopher Nolan; screenwriter: Jonathan Nolan; cinematographer: Hoyte Van Hoytema; editor: Lee Smith; music: Hans Zimmer; cast: Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Dr. Amelia Brand), Jessica Chastain (Murph as an adult), Bill Irwin (voice of TARS), Mackenzie Foy (Murph at 10), John Lithgow (Donald), Timothée Chalamet (Tom at 15), Wes Bentley (Doyle), David Gyasi (Romilly), Topher Grace (Getty), Michael Caine (Professor Brand), Ellen Burstyn (Dying older Murph), Casey Affleck (Tom as an adult), Matt Damon (Dr. Mann); Runtime: 169; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Emma Thomas/Christopher Nolan/Lynda Obst; Paramount; 2014)|
|"It intelligently and in a
masterful cinematic way weaves together a
story that explores both the cosmic world
and the real world."
by Dennis Schwartz
Christopher Nolan ("Memento"/"The Dark
Knight"/"Man of Steel") co-writes the high-concept
visionary screenplay with brother Jonathan. It's
nearly three hours long and is sometimes a
tedious slog through its idea-rich story line. But
as a space epic with a humanistic bent, it's visually
stunning, thought-provoking, filled with many twists,
it fuels speculation about mankind's future and its
serious drama is touching. Nolan's exceptionally
well-conceived episodic sci-fi film, a response to
Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, is a
save the world space odyssey, but with no
aliens. Instead it intelligently and in a masterful
cinematic way weaves together a story that explores
both the cosmic world and the real world. It leaves us
with the not too subtle powerful message that love
takes us to places science might not be able to go.
Its speculative theme tells us that at some point of
time mankind will find the Earth no longer livable and
would need to migrate to outer space to survive, and
that there is hope because of America's ability to
always find solutions for its toughest problems.
opens with mankind's immanent end on Earth about to
happen any time in the near future of the 21st century
due to some unexplained catastrophic event that
curtails our food supply. Focusing on the domestic
scene of a farm family somewhere in the Midwest farm
belt, we observe the actions of a family struggling to
survive a Dust Bowl situation by growing corn. The
family consists of the widower Cooper
(Matthew McConaughey), a former test pilot, his
teenage son Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and
his beloved bright but stubborn like dad rebellious
10-year-old daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy). Also
living on the farm is his father-in-law, the
children's lovable grandfather (John Lithgow).
action picks up when Cooper and Murph go
driving at night in the countryside and locate the unclassified
secret grounds of a NASA operation by following
a mysterious code they discovered when it formed
in the dust from falling books in their home library.
Despite the space program losing its funding and
shutting down, Cooper's genius physicist old
boss, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), and other true
believers of the space program, huddle there to come
up with a way to save the world. Brand is working on
an advanced gravitational theory that suggests through
a wormhole visible near Saturn, it's possible for
astronauts to slip through this narrow gap in space
and emerge in a different galaxy near another planet
so that its alien inhabitants might give us another
chance to sustain life again on their planet. When
Brand is not lecturing us on science, he invokes the
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and quotes his verse of “Do
not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage
against the dying of the light.” The film's
science technical adviser was theoretical physicist Kip
Thorne, whose expertise in science
makes this ambitious but far-fetched sci-fi film
perhaps more intriguing than many others.
talks the reluctant Cooper to go into space with a
team of explorers to locate the previous explorers
sent to find the wormhole. But Murph is not happy, as
she believes dad is deserting the family instead of
remaining home to look after them on a dying Earth.
Even when Coop tells his family ”I'm coming
back,” Murph is inconsolable.
On this Lazarus Mission, the pilot Cooper and the scientist astronaut Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Brand's attractive daughter, are joined by the pensive astrophysicist Romilly (David Gyasi), the scientist and co-pilot Doyle (Wes Bentley) and the mobile computerized robot TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin). After two years in space, meaning that 23 years past on Earth, Cooper becomes distraught that he might not see his children again and faces opposition as he tries to get the mission to return home. In the meantime Murph (now played as an adult by Jessica Chastain) is presented as about the same age as her space-bound father due to the laws of space travel (an hour in space is 7 years on Earth).
sci-fi techie geeks there are several diverting set
pieces that include a spacecraft trying to get
away from a mile-high tidal wave; a razzle-dazzle
docking adventure; visually astonishing trips through
wormholes; and amazing treks across an unimaginable
frozen world covered by mountain-like formations of
going too far when trying to tack onto science a
number of truisms about love as dogmas and coming up
short with too many mawkish family moments,
nevertheless its heartfelt story about the trials of
space exploration and about the right for Earthlings
to grow up without being suppressed intellectually by
authorities results in an engrossing and elegant film.
It's a compassionate and knowledgeable film that
measures up to the better films of this sci-fi genre.
REVIEWED ON 11/8/2014 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ