“The end of Earth will not be the end of us.”
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Synopsis: A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.
Technology has literally gone underground in Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s latest ‘blockbuster with brains.’ The world’s crops, with the exception of corn, have become blighted by some unknown ailment, and so the world has had to turn its back on all things technological in order to focus on growing enough corn to feed the world. The internet is history, and school kids are taught that the moon landings were faked in an attempt to bankrupt the Soviet Union. Coop (Matthew McConaughey — The Paperboy, The Wolf of Wall Street) is a former astronaut, although you wouldn’t think it to look at him. He talks with a lazy drawl, and he wears denim and a cowboy hat which you imagine he would push away from his eyes with one extended finger before ejecting a mouthful of ‘baccy into the nearest spittoon. He’s a farmer now, a single father bringing up son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) with the help of his father-in-law (John Lithgow — All That Jazz, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension). He still wants to be an astronaut, though: “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars,” he disconsolately reflects as he chugs on a beer, “now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
Murphy is a precocious kid with an IQ which makes her something of a handful at school. She sees books falling from her bookshelf and, when other kids would have sprinted from the room screaming their lungs out, she immediately twigs that something is trying to send her a message. She gets it from her dad, who can deduce a binary message from dust falling in a straight line. Who else would you want to save the world? These two can even find a top secret NASA workshop deep in the wilderness in a couple of hours. It turns out that the US government never completely turned its back on technology, but just sold the people a lie (gasp!) while beavering away trying to find a cure for the world’s agricultural woes. Chief beaver is Dr. Brand (Michael Caine — The Prestige, Now You See Me) who has come up with two plans: A and B. Both involve a manned flight to investigate a mysterious wormhole which appeared 48 years ago and — guess what? — Coop is the only man for the job. So why hasn’t NASA been in touch with the only man who can save the world before now? Ah, well. Never you mind…
Interstellar is a giant juggernaut of a movie that rumbles relentlessly on for nearly three hours. Its journey has a number of genuinely impressive highlights, but overall it’s a little too lumbering to qualify as anything more than respectably proficient. Nolan seems to have decided that the key to grabbing an audience is to mystify and puzzle it, and then reveal an oblique resolution which invites endless discussion. But whereas his Inception was a truly original concept, Interstellar comes across as a pale rehash of a certain Kubrick movie, with a wormhole near Saturn substituting for a monolith on the moon. We observe the perils of Coop and his small crew without sympathy for their situation. Most members of the audience might well be unprepared (and unwelcoming) for the cerebral nature of Nolan’s story, but even those who thrive on such material might find themselves struggling to find anything of real substance for intellectual reflection.
(Reviewed 3rd December 2014)
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