Film review: Interstellar


I think that you can often tell a film’s quality by how long it stays with you after the credits stop rolling. Chris Nolan’s Interstellar, for me, was three hours viewing time, plus the rest of the day spent with the blockbuster on my mind.

The first few minutes introduce the audience to Cooper, a widowed ex-pilot, played tremendously by Matthew McConaughey. Like the rest of humanity, he has been affected by the lack of food on Earth, and although we are not given a date, my estimate would be that this film is set around 50 years from now. Without going into great detail (there is a lot of it), he is recruited by NASA to join three others on spacecraft Endurance, in a final attempt to discover a planet in another galaxy that is a suitable habitat for humans.

It really depends on preference, but I love astronomy, so this was the perfect film for me. I am extremely interested in space, and love the wonder of not knowing even a fraction of what there is to know about our universe. With the first 45 minutes building up to Endurance’s lift off, there is a healthy balance onscreen of the relationships Cooper has on Earth and the experiences he has on his mission. Nolan has nailed character building in this film; the audience gets Cooper, I really felt what he felt throughout.

While Anne Hathaway (Brand) and Mackenzie Foy (young Murph) stood out to me on the acting front, as expected, each character was cast extremely well. But I must refer back to McConaughey, as two scenes in particular are very memorable:

The first is when Cooper is sent a video message from his daughter Murph, who is now the same age as him. The two parted on bad terms, and Jessica Chastain as adult Murph is striking. I felt utterly frustrated that Cooper is unable to respond to her messages, and gripped by the way McConaughey acted the raw emotion that someone in Cooper’s position would inevitably feel. This was a scene that brought me to tears, as Murph, sobbing, reminds Cooper of his promise to return.

Another one of my favourite scenes, though hard to watch, is when Cooper, Brand, Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) arrive to inspect a planet. The planet is covered in shallow water with absolutely colossal waves. Every hour they spend on this planet is 7 years Earth time (which I can’t begin to comprehend), and while Brand is collecting data, a wave approaches, and she must safely make it back to Endurance. Rescued by robot TARS, she survives, however Doyle is drowned by the wave and the scene after shows the torment that the characters are experiencing. While Brand thinks that Cooper should have left her, Cooper is thinking of Doyle and also the loss of time with his children, who are ageing. The realisation that he may not make it back to them hits home, as well as the prospect of millions of families suffering if the remaining crew are unable to complete the mission.

I have rambled, and there are hugely prominent scenes in this film throughout that are also worth talking about. But I haven’t yet touched on the CGI, and for me, it was flawless. I was pushed as far back into my seat as I could go (potentially because I was in row D of the IMAX in Greenwich) in order to take it all in. From Earth to the galaxy we travel to with Endurance, I couldn’t fault the special effects. As previously mentioned, my fascination with astronomy led to much appreciation of the many still frames of space we are treated to.

When we reach the third and final hour, something a little odd happens. Rather suddenly, Cooper seems to have descended into a 5D space of his daughter Murph’s bedroom. Behind her warped bookshelf, he sees her as a child watching her books fall off onto the ground. Originally thought to be ghosts, Murph and Cooper concluded that it was in fact gravity causing the books to fall. After what I found to be a confusing hour of the film, Cooper realises the 5D space was created by future humans, and he was able to convey a message to Murph through morse code so that she could crack the gravity equation that Brand’s father had been working on his whole career. Brand’s father (Michael Caine) is a scientist at NASA who recruits Cooper for the mission; there is a lot to be said about Dr Brand as seen in the film, however I feel it is way too much to give away!

While you may leave the cinema feeling slightly bewildered, as I initially did, after speculation the narrative becomes slightly more clear and you are able to fully appreciate the film for the marvel it is. There are parts that I will never understand, such as how Cooper got from the middle of a different galaxy to the hospital of a space station, or why elderly Murph’s now large family don’t greet him as he enters the room! However, Interstellar is fiction for the purpose of entertainment and I was certainly entertained. Christopher Nolan didn’t waste a single minute within the three hours of viewing pleasure.

Go and see it!


Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light


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