Mankind is on the brink of extinction with climate-change having ravaged the planet and depleted our food supplies. Struggling to survive, humankind’s only hope lies in the stars. Father of two Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) was once an engineer and pilot for NASA but is now a farmer. His bright young daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) uncovers a series of bizarre atmospheric anomalies at their farm that leads Cooper directly to his old mentor, Professor Brand (Michael Caine). He has a plan to save humanity but it involves Cooper travelling into space with no return date set. So Cooper reluctantly leaves his family behind to lead a mission to an unknown solar system, in the faint hope of finding a habitable planet.
Director Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan have done it again with this utterly absorbing and emotionally charged masterpiece. Interstellar is without doubt one of the films of the year, but more importantly it’s cinema in its grandest, most ambitious guise. This is a film that perfectly marries high concept theory with the fantastical, a film that somehow manages to couple science fact and fiction with family-focused drama and a taunt survival thriller. In short, Interstellar is a breathlessly entertaining ‘blockbuster’ in the very truest sense of the word that needs to be experienced by all (preferably in IMAX).
The film isn’t afraid to ask and attempt to answer some very tricky questions, both on a practical and existential level. The scope of this film will leave you wanting to know more about the universe and poses some thought-provoking arguments and ideas about our future. The effects are sublime, with an attention to detail that will leave you in awe. Every aspect of the film feels plausible and tangible, with everything you see onscreen (especially TARS and CASE, the artificial intelligence who accompanies the crew into space) stemming from a very real-world grounding.
The cast are all amazing with Matthew McConaughey once again handing in an Oscar-worthy performance that will leave you in tears. It’s his onscreen relationship with Mackenzie Foy that really provides the films strong emotional core too. Interstellar is fundamentally a story about a father and a daughter, with McConaughey and Foy doing a remarkable job in creating this amazing dynamic that also acts as the backbone to all of the science fiction and fact. Jessica Chastain continues this on as the older version of Murphy, with the talented actress frequently at the centre of the films most powerful scenes.
Matthew McConaughey also works wonderfully next to Anne Hathaway, who hands in a multi-layered performance that really impresses. It’s great to see Wes Bentley back in big movies again. London-born David Gyasi, who steals his scenes as Romilly, is a revelation thanks to his significantly subtle but powerful performance. Then there’s Nolan regular Sir Michael Caine, once again handing in a supporting turn full of great integrity and strength. The film is also blessed with amazing cameo turns from the likes of Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, William Devane, Bill Irwin (as the voice of TARS) and the great John Lithgow.
There are a few clunky moments of dialogue but this is a miniscule gripe in an otherwise glorious ode to storytelling. Anyone who thinks that Interstellar gets too complicated is just plain wrong. Everything you see makes complete sense within the parameters of this story. Yes, some things require a suspension of belief, but it’s a story that revels in its authenticity. Throw in a haunting score by the legendary Hans Zimmer that blankets this movie beautifully and you have one of the musical scores of the year. Even the stellar 169min runtime just flies by too and you won’t clock-watch once, thanks largely to the sheer magnetism of this involving story.
Interstellar is ground-breaking, spectacular film-making of the highest order. Full of breathtaking effects, a clever, epic story that isn’t afraid to tackle life’s big questions and a truly magnificent cast, it’s Nolan’s opus. It’s also the most immersive experience you’ll have in a cinema this year. But it’s the emotional story that grabs you the most and never lets you go. Blended together, Interstellar provides a unique theatrical experience and cements Christopher Nolan as a true auteur of modern cinema.