Great Movies: Interstellar

By Christian DiMartino

Hi my name is Christian DiMartino, an aspiring film critic from Indiana and my plan is to write reviews on current releases/discuss upcoming releases/discuss great films etc.

This is an entry in my “Great Movies” segment, in which I take a great film from a certain year, and discuss it. My goal is to not use the same directors over and over again (for example, since my first post is a Christopher Nolan film, I shouldn’t be writing about another Nolan film for some time).

So let’s begin with Nolan’s Interstellar, a film that went two ways: You either loved it, or you hated it. Now granted, Nolan gets a lot of criticism, mostly because, well, to put it lightly… people don’t root for someone this good. I have heard people claim that Steven Spielberg is overrated. To that I say: What pleases you?

Interstellar takes place in a futuristic world that, strangely, doesn’t seem that futuristic. The world is like a giant dust bowl. Crops are dying, and basically, we’re screwed (isn’t that what all futuristic films are trying to sell?) Enter a man named Coop, played to perfection by Matthew McConaughey. Coop is a farmer (ho ho ho I see what you did there!) and a former pilot who lives with his daughter Murph (the young version played by Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (the younger version played by Timothee Chalamet).

Murph is the prime focus in the early scenes of the film. She believes that a “ghost” is lurking around her bedroom. One thing leads to another, and this “ghost” takes Murph and Coop to an underground bunker… that just happens to be NASA, which, up to this point, was rumored to be a myth.

There he meets Professor Brand (Michael Caine, a Nolan regular) and his daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway). Brand has a plan: travel through a wormhole in search of another plan to live on. Sounds bonkers, yes, but wait. He then asks Coop to be the pilot, and due to the fear of the children’s safety, he agrees.

About 40 minutes into Interstellar I was convinced I was watching one of the year’s best films, particularly from the scene when Coop and Murph part ways. It is even more lovely to think that Nolan wrote this as a love letter to his own daughter.

That being said, Nolan hasn’t even begun to let the tricks up his sleeve loose yet. It is when the film takes liftoff that we get the Nolan film we expect. Visually, this film is utterly astonishing, especially on an IMAX screen. Not even Blu ray can quite capture the grandeur and beauty of these outer space sequences.

Once they’ve traveled through the wormhole, they visit three different planets: one with a humongous wave (another extraordinary, terrifying sequence), an icy planet (featuring an unexpected cameo), and the third one… well, I won’t go there. What I will tell you is that an hour in this wormhole is 7 years on planet Earth… so just imagine how odd it is when Coop sees Murph as an adult, played by Jessica Chastain no less (that family has some good genes).

Nonetheless, the film that Nolan brought us here is intense, and not to mention, beautiful. It is beautiful visually, thanks to the visual effects team and the cinematography by Hoyt Van Hoytema. But not just that, it is also moving. It is moving, and it is an accurate depiction of mourning.

I will also say that is among composer Hans Zimmer’s best work as well. Yes it is loud, but good Lord it is lovely.

I won’t quite tell you this is Nolan’s best film. For me, The Dark Knight is his magnum opus. But this is up there with Inception as his most ambitious film, and that truly is saying something. I think it is a tremendous film on multiple levels, and should be seen for its vast ambition alone.

The fact that Nolan has never scored a Best Director nomination is appalling. That being said, this stupid Academy still hasn’t thrown an Oscar at Leonardo DiCaprio. So, clearly, they are morons.

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