Interstellar (2014) Movie Review “An Incredible, Emotional, and Visually Stunning, Sci-Fi Epic”

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Christopher Nolan has easily become one of the most popular filmmakers in the business today thanks to the enormous success of “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, “Inception”, and “Memento”. He sports a strong and loyal fan base behind him (that is willing to defend just about anything he does) and a small but vocal crowd that dismisses him as overrated. Regardless of where you may lie on that spectrum, there is no denying when he makes a film everyone turns their heads to see what it is. I for one was very excited to see what he was going to do with his career after he was done with the cape and cowl of Batman. “Interstellar” would be that project, and like his other ones “Interstellar” was shrouded in secrecy. The trailers gave the general premise, but I was not prepared for how the film would actually turn out. “Interstellar” may have a few gaps in logic and an ending you’ll either love or hate, but this Sci-Fi epic bends normal blockbuster conventions with an intelligent script, larger than life ideas, and themes. However, the film grounds them in something accessible; something that has to be seen on the big screen with its drop dead gorgeous visuals that Nolan and his team were able to create.

With the Earth dying, humanity’s last hope is to find a new home. A team of explorers venture off into the cosmos to find a new habitable world for mankind to survive in. One pilot leaves his daughter and son behind to find this new world, but the task will prove more difficult than anyone could have predicted.

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It’s very difficult giving a synopsis for the film. While the premise is simple, you want to be weary of giving anything away because this film has so many surprises in store. At first it seems simple, but as the film progresses the narrative becomes more complex and requires your absolute attention, specifically when the script tries to explain the science behind it. Much of the film’s physics and science feels plausible even when the events are at its most implausible. Nolan might be trying too hard to get people to understand the science behind it by doing a little too much exposition, rather than trusting some of the audience intelligence to pick on certain details. But that’s a minor quibble.

This year we’ve had so many different and beautiful looking movies like “Noah” and “Gone Girl”, but “Interstellar” has to be in talks for the best cinematography of the year. The cinematography is jaw dropping while the visuals are stunning. Usually when you are talking about a Christopher Nolan, you aren’t talking about the special effects, but here the visual effects are gorgeous. The details are finite, while the scope is something that must be experienced on the big screen.

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The Nolan brothers (Chris and screenwriter Jonathan) spread throughout the script themes on humanity. During the film the movie can get philosophical and try to take peeks into the nature of humanity whether it’d be love ,fear, hate, evil, courage or curiosity. “Interstellar” explores these themes while mostly avoiding getting preachy.

To ground this massive spectacular is a very simple tale of a father and daughter. Without a strong emotional core to give the film some ground and levity, all “Interstellar” becomes is a visually impactful and intellectual stimulating adventure, but would lack a beating heart. My biggest criticism of “Gravity” is as visually incredible and thrilling it was it did sometimes lack a strong emotional core. “Interstellar” does not fall into such a trap.

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The relationship between Mathew McConaughy’s Cooper and his daughter Murph (first played by young actress Mackenzie Foy and later by Jessica Chastain) serves as the emotional crux for the audience. This is the purpose that drives him, his love for his daughter. It’s profoundly powerful to see it develop and played out on screen. Christopher Nolan normally gets the criticism for being too emotionally cold with his films, but here he seems to have stepped out of his comfort zone and made the driving force of movie something emotional rather than ambition or “the hero’s duty”. Originally meant as a project for Steven Spielberg and seeing this touching relationship makes you realize why.

The team of actors that Nolan assembled is nothing sort of brilliant. (Besides the one I already mentioned), you’ve got John Lithgow, Anne Hathaway (whom is incredible) , Michael Caine, and so many others. Casey Affleck’s performance although good, his character was a little underdeveloped. His motivations make sense when you step back and think about it but in the moment the events that transpires do feel a bit rushed. Topher Grace plays a small role in the film but surprising was effective. There is also a surprise role from a famous actor I won’t spoil here.

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There may be moments in logical gaps and too much exposition (in some parts it’s vital) to me the pure ambition and level of craftsmanship is enough to overlook most of these flaws. From the stellar acting (no pun intended) to the jaw dropping visuals to Hans Zimmer’s pulse pounding score and Nolan’s vision this will be a film that will be discussed and debated about for years to come.

Final Score

8.5/10

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