With Insomnia probably being the exception, Christopher Nolan has known to capture audiences worldwide with gripping screenplays and overwhelming directing. Especially with his writing skills he has shown he knows how to combine original approaches with a great plot. Whether it be the suspense in Memento and The Dark Knight or the mystery in The Prestige and Inception, he knows how to bring his ideas across.
Love as Motivation
In an apocalyptic future, Earth is faced with only one way out: leave it. Massive dust storm are detrimental for human health and cause crops to go bad. Cooper is a former astronaut who is recruited for a mission to use black holes to travel between stellar systems in order to find a habitable planet somewhere else. In order to do so he joins a four man team and has to leave his two kids behind. Especially his daughter, Murph, suffers from this a lot.
Interstellar is stunning. The images and the CGI are simply breath-taking. There is beauty all around and it is moving to see that. Hans Zimmer’s great score only adds to the marvellous experience.
The biggest strength of Interstellar however does not lie in its beautiful videography, but in the relationships. Much more than in most of his previous movies Nolan is able to establish a love story at the centre. Yes, love stories are present is most of his material, but they always seem to be subjected to the novelty of his plot.
Interstellar however focuses on the love between a father and his daughter and knows to do it very convincingly, much due to the great acting of Matthew McConaughey and Mackenzie Foy/Jessica Chastain (young/old daughter). Everyone around Cooper keeps pointing him to impossibilities in terms of returning and even communication. However, Cooper refuses to even consider those in the prospect of not being able to save his daughter. Determined to do so he does not lose hope. Love is his force and it gives the movie the body that Inception was missing.
Load of Science
Of course, Interstellar is not without flaws. Nolan is known for running ahead of himself and Interstellar is in line with his previous work. Probably the most irritating part about the movie (and Nolan) is his need to find scientific explanation. Just like Batman’s gadgets were linked to the research department of Wayne Enterprises (and Morgan Freeman was chosen as the most sexy voice to explain the scientific side), Nolan seems to have a need to theorise every single marvel. Where’s the magic and the enchantment? The irony is that the scientific world struggles with the movie not being scientific enough.
Another missed opportunity is that Nolan seems to not see any other option than escape from Earth. Reaching for the stars is a justified way out. In a consumerist world, making a plea for a more ecological lifestyle would have been welcome. Without being too moralistic the movie had a good opportunity to make a call for change, even if only very subtle. However, there is no reference to that at all in Interstellar. It is exploring space that will save us.
In sum, Interstellar was a beautiful love story but Nolan should have let us enjoy that beauty instead of explaining it to us.
Interstellar – Christoper Nolan (Legendary Pictures, 2014)