Review - Interstellar

Interstellar (2014), PG-13, 169 minutes - There are a handful of directors whose films I will make the time for no matter what.  It doesn't matter how much I know or have seen of one of their films, I know that I'll enjoy it.  Christopher Nolan is in that group and I have tried very hard to avoid any other information about Interstellar that could spoil the film.  These efforts were undoubtedly helped by our recent move - I just haven't had the time to browse the web and inadvertently stumble across something spoilery.

At an undisclosed time in Earth's future, the planet has become increasingly uninhabitable.  Each year more and more crops fall to blight and corn is one of the few that has not yet been infected.  The atmosphere has deteriorated and vicious dust storms are a regular occurrence.  Most of the planet is focused on trying to adapt their way of life to cope with the changes, but a secretly re-constituted NASA (they had been shut down to focus resources on 'more realistic' solutions to Earth's problems) has been working on a program that is exploring the universe for potential inhabitable planets that could be colonized to save the human race.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former NASA pilot who, much like the rest of the population, has taken to farming in humanity's attempt to produce enough blight-free crops for survival.  After he and his children - Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and Murph (Mackenzie Foy) - find a seemingly lost and faulty drone, they stumble upon a secret NASA facility.  Cooper is quickly recruited to pilot the Endurance, an experimental spacecraft to be sent to the far reaches of space to retrieve data from previously launched scout crews.  He accepts, feeling that his skills would better serve humanity by helping to find a new home rather than continuing the never-ending battle with blight as a farmer.  Tom, who is fifteen, understands what his father is trying to do, Murph (ten) on the other hand feels abandoned.

The Endurance crew, which also includes Brand (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), and Romilly (David Gyassi) encounter a number of other obstacles during their mission, as nothing is certain with space exploration.  I really don't want to be spoilery so I apologize for not getting more specific here.  Other familiar faces that round out the cast are: Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, William Devane, David Oyelowo, and Topher Grace.

Christopher Nolan is one of the most creative director's out there and he strives to pull off his effects as practically as he can.  Limiting his reliance on CG is amazing considering the things he pulls off in his films.  He also strives to keep things as realistic as possible, no matter how far fetched it may be.  One of the coolest things about Interstellar is how scientifically accurate it is.  World renowned Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to twitter after seeing this film and spoke about how well the physics of space were interpreted in this film.  That's sweet.  Science-fiction is cool, but science-fiction that stems from our current understanding of the universe is even more cool.

Interstellar takes a couple pretty good turns, the revelations of which really push the story forward. It begins a bit slowly but in doing so solidly grounds the characters, creating a connection with the viewer that really pays off later in the film. Similarly to Inception, Interstellar has some pretty thought provoking content, but overall is a bit easier to follow. I'd love to see it a second time in order to better focus on the more detailed plot points. It pains me to say this, but as much as I enjoyed it, Interstellar more than likely caters to a specific audience. If you're not into sci-fi/space exploration films, I would not suggest killing an afternoon or evening with this film (it is almost three hours long). On the other hand, if you're like me and are a fan of Nolan's catalog of work, I can virtually guarantee that you will enjoy this film.


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