Monday, November 10, 2014

"Interstellar" review: A thrilling and emotionally resonating space epic

Christopher Nolan, famous for The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and Memento, has once again brought his A-game to the newly re-sparked space genre with Interstellar. Prerelease trailers had defined a rather simplistic movie, but with Nolan rarely is anything taken at face value. In fact, Interstellar is just the opposite and perhaps at times over-complex.

In a near future, Matthew McConaughey plays a farmer/ex-space pilot—Copper—in a dying earth that is doomed by frequent sand storms. With the help of his daughter Murph, he “stumbles” on a NASA secret. He then faces a risky journey into deep space with other scientists, Anne Hatheway (Amelia Brand) and Wes Bentley (Doyle), to save his family and the human race. This sets up the premise of the movie but what really takes the viewer in are the relationships between the characters—father and daughter and father and son.

Much like Inception, the movie holds Nolan’s artistic convictions very close to heart. Interstellar boasts some impressive visual scenes with some never seen before special effects, especially in the spatial creation of some of the extraordinary sights in the unforeseen and mysterious universe. With Gravity’s ground-breaking visual effects in 2013; it felt like nothing much could have been added to the space-genre arena but Interstellar showed otherwise. Gravity is the winner on the direction and visual scale, but Nolan’s new space adventure ultimately wins audience’s hearts with its emotional gravitas.

The struggle between Copper and his daughter Murphy during his “endless” journey is one of the key story lines that drives the thrill in the movie. It establishes a strong humanistic quality to the film that will at several occasions make you take out the tissue box. Anne Hathaway’s character never fits into her role as a scientist, instead she takes a more accompanying role in the film. Her character ends with an interesting plotline but rarely is she defined independently. She relays a few thoughts about the transcendence of love, a recurring theme in the film, but beyond that not much can be said.

Perhaps its most praised and criticized aspect is its scientific jargon that at times is enlightening yet also confusing. Its scientific seriousness in quantum physics adds a realistic touch to the movie, but for the larger part, it takes away the well-deserving focus on the others characters’ struggles. With all its intricacy, Interstellar, unsurprisinglyis a movie made for multiple viewings in which things might become clearer.

Hans Zimmer, frequent collaborator of Christopher Nolan, once again scores the film’s soundtrack. He effectively reflects the complexity of the multi-dimensional universe in his cues while adding a small touch of human drama. The use of the powerful and heart-trembling organs add a novel element to his previously derivative work. It deepens the musical setting of what already seems a very deep and emotionally complex film. It's safe to say that Zimmer has taken back his spot among the best music producers in the film industry. However, it should be noted that the sound mixing is at some points overruling, making a recited poem in the film incomprehensible. 

Movies this daring, this original, and this thought-provoking rarely hit cinemas and when they do— they are really hard to resist. Interstellar, with all its greatness and its mistakes, is another example of these outstanding movies.

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