Interstellar (US-UK, 2014)

Mind bending reality

Mind bending reality

I’ve been avoiding Interstellar a bit because I’ve been seeing the marketing for nearly a year. Also the trailer made it seem like Terrence Malick was going to tackle the meaning of life again with Matthew McConaughey’s portentous voiceover allied to poetic imagery. Thankfully it’s much more engaging and at least as profound as Malick’s movie. It’s true the script clunks occasionally but I can forgive that in a film with immense ambition: bringing ‘hard’ SF to the masses. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity can rarely have been represented so dramatically.

Also striking for SF was the film’s emotive heft; often, in the genre, the characters are subservient to the ideas (that’s certainly not a criticism). The portrayal of the father-daughter relationship, and the discussions about love, are extremely moving. This is aided by performances that inspire belief in the characters; McConaughey’s obviously’s hit a hot streak and MacKenzie Foy (as the 10 year version) is his equal.

Visually the film is brilliant and I liked (if that’s the word) the portrayal of the dying Earth; a fate we’re hurtling toward at the moment. Will most of the audience understand that the Nolans are making a comment on our treatment of the planet? The name of Matt Damon (uncredited) character – Mann – suggests that he personifies masculinity (I won’t spoil).

Hans Zimmer’s score is exceptionally good; the use of the organ reminded me of Solaris (USSR, 1972) a film that, at the time, was called Russia’s answer to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick’s landmark film is a touchstone for the Nolans; it was a favourite of mine for many years but it disappointed me last time I saw it, I shall have to revisit it.

Even approaching three hours Interstellar isn’t too long as there’s plenty of mind bending physics as well as physical tension to make this particular Hollywood roller coaster ride a great mind-body experience.

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