“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling” said Nolan in his last non-Batman flick, and he seems to be taking that advice quite seriously.
Boy, did director Christopher Nolan ever dream. Our favorite mind-bending, plot twisting, elusive director is back at it with his latest film Interstellar. In a last effort to save mankind from utter extinction, Cooper and company travel out into the unknown of space to find a place of survival. You maybe thinking that you have heard this one before, but let me be clear, Nolan is the master of confusion, suspense, and originality.
He starts us off in this thrill ride by showing us an apocalyptic world of sorts, well, specifically a town. In this world we see a complete resemblance to our own world. The similarity stops after a similarity of looks alone. That is because the solar system is malfunctioning into a dust bowl of global proportions. This new earth (or old for that matter) is one that is slowly losing all abilities to grow produce anymore. Along with this difference is the fact that machines now have minds of their own to some extent. With robots helping people out and going haywire from time to time, it looks like the prequel to WALL-E. Even with all these changes (most being bad) the human race has lost its interest in the unknown and of being pioneers. Interest or not, if the likes of Cooper do not embark on this great journey, there will be no more civilization.
As should come to be expected from past Nolan films is his magic of confidentiality when it comes to plot lines. Rest assured, I will not break his mystery here. What I will do is discuss my thoughts regarding the film, as well as some of the themes or concepts conveyed in Interstellar. The first theme that should be rather obvious is the courage and self-sacrifice displayed in a film. I don’t say this light heartedly, though. Sacrifice for the sake of family and mankind is the key concept of the film. It is shown in the hardship and the laying down of even life for the sake of others. It is shown in the most dramatic of ways, and even the most psychotic at times. Seeing what these characters go through is haunting. Nolan is a genius when it comes to making one lose their finger nails thanks to intensity. Thanks to his good friend Hans Zimmer (a favorite of mine) who always gives it his all in a superb soundtrack. Elements such as these fully display the horror (and especially beauty) that this self-sacrificing team will put themselves through for everyone else.
Where does this sacrifice come from? Now this is where viewers of Christian belief will see the fundamental flaws involved in this film. What Nolan has on display in this exhilarating thrill ride is the humanistic view point. All things come down to the fact that this world is dying and it is humans that must get them out of this mess. No mention of a higher being, and even the strong push of mankind’s accomplishments. That is not in and of itself a problem, in fact it gives you an inspirational message of man’s drive to survive. But when God seems absent, many will sneer at this film. But wait, maybe He is not so hidden as you might think. At one point in the film one character expresses the fact that there is one thing humans can’t explain and can’t get a hold of. This one thing is the fact that love is what pushes people. This might seem like a Disney go-to answer, but it is significant. Humans didn’t create it (love) they acknowledge, and it is the one thing that makes the least sense in this crazy world. Yes, man get’s the credit for all things of achievement in this film, even those that seem a bit supernatural, but it couldn’t be done without this one item of love that drove them to this self-sacrifice.
Now to address the inevitable, this bumpy ride of confusion. Many had made it aware that this film is Christopher’s most stumping of all his tales (and that is saying something). I was going in determined and with a stubborn mentality that I would follow it completely. I’m no science geek by any stretch of the word, let along with a fantasy twist. Yet I was still able to stay above water until the last 45 minutes or so of twists and turns that left me in a bit of my own personal dust bowl. Well played, Chris. You win this time. In all honesty, the confusion and the 169 minutes of it all still has me wondering if I even was a big fan of this film. He is my favorite director, yet this one left me numb at times, but thanks to a beautiful production, I will be back to observe again in order to get a better look at it and to reclaim my stubbornness.
Nolan has always been the best when it comes to compiling an amazing cast, and it is no different here. The likes of Mat Damon and Michael Caine’s limited but powerful performances elevated the film. Jessica Chastain is my main girl in Hollywood these days. She seems to make the most of every supporting (and leading) role she gets, and she gives quite a performance here as well. Also I’ve never got the whole, “I hate Anne Hathaway” movement. Especially with her recent collaboration with Nolan films where she has done wonders. Lastly, Matthew McConaughey as Cooper. Man, that guy an act. He gives one of the most powerful and emotional roles of his career as a father who is willing to do the most difficult tasks for the sake of his family and mankind. I wouldn’t be upset nor surprised if these fine actors sweep the board come Oscar season.
Along with these masterful actors is the unsurprising mesmerizing display of beauty and suspense that Nolan always seems to carry with him wherever he goes. Nolan sends us into darkness, terrifying loneliness, and magnificence which we experience along with his assemble of characters. This film is not perfect. In fact it contains a handful of profanities (including an F-bomb) which might be best for the Clearplay/TV Guardian. Along with that is the fact that it was a farfetched space venture at times, with debatably a let down of an ending. Also to join the crowd of negativity is the fact that humanism is obviously a reality that can’t be avoided here. Yet with all this is a group of people who are willing to do what it takes to save others. As one character says, “Human’s first law is to leave something behind to get somewhere further.” What is this conviction driven by? The love for others. Maybe a love given by something out in that darkness that is far superior than any human in this film truly understands.