directed by Christopher Nolan
(Paramount, 2014)

On the one hand, Interstellar is a complex and beautiful masterpiece that reflects director Christopher Nolan's growth as a filmmaker. Fans of Kubrick's space travel odyssey will be happy, because this film is truly a visual wonder. The story juxtaposes the imminent death of the human race with the search for a planet that can sustain life. Time hasn't just run out, it's gone for good. Talk about making a pilgrimage to save the human race.

If only Interstellar hadn't tried so hard to cover so much "subject" at once, hadn't gone on for a bit too long, and hadn't relied so much on rather tried-and-true tropes, instead of using groundbreaking storytelling that would have truly brought the form forward. It's not easy to bring a last-chance-for-humanity story based on astrophysics to the masses. As Nolan himself said, as long as a story can be followed, it can be forgiven its artistic licenses as long its themes remains internally consistent.

And there are powerful themes -- of isolation and abandonment, of love as a powerful, quantifiable force of nature -- at work in Nolan's film. The movie starts out on a strong note with Matthew McConaughey turning in an excellent performance. It's the relationships between humans that are the real mystery of life.

Ultimately, though, the powerful visuals don't match the story, which isn't nearly as deep. The slow unfolding drags any action, making the long running time a test of endurance, made more difficult by the lack of originality, given that these ideas have been played with before. But the first two hours are a true masterpiece and well worth the admission. The eerie silence and the infinite blackness of star-studded space have never felt so immersive. The film is quite successful in projecting the deep aloneness and absolute silence of being in space. It may not be substantive but Interstellar does have heart and it wants humanity to win in the end through remembering what's best about us: our capacity to love.

review by
Mary Harvey

14 February 2015

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