From one of the most vaunted filmmakers of our time, comes another intellectually challenging flick about space exploration, filled with notions of physics that are not known to mankind yet. I’m not one of those fanatic Nolan fans who love anything he may throw at them, and I am one of the very few who felt Inception was ridiculous. And yet, Interstellar is one of the best movies I have ever watched.
In the near future, a blight that survives on nitrogen starts destroying all the crops and our Earth is no more an inhabitable planet. Humans have no choice but to look to the stars for other places for survival. Our hero, who is a former pilot and now a farmer, sets out on this quest with a team of astronauts, leaving behind his family.
The first half doesn’t feel like a Nolan movie. The panache that appears in his other works, especially the sense of seriousness and hurry, is surprisingly missing. There are long conversations without any background music, that makes you wonder why music composer, Hans Zimmer, who usually goes for the fast beats, has toned down the music so drastically. Parts of the movie feel maudlin, with arguments like “love is the one thing that transcends space and time”, but the script makes sure that there is someone to counter such arguments with more rational ones, even if the movie doesn’t agree with them. The one problem that always existed in Nolan’s scripts continues to fester here: characters explaining the plot and the rules to each other, in order to let audience know, even if its obvious that they shouldn’t need to explain it to each other. Since this is a movie with esoteric physics concepts at its core, there is a lot of mutual explanation between scientists that doesn’t make much sense.
It does not suffer from one of the biggest problems I feared it would: logical errors. Even though it may seem a little far-fetched, the logic seems sound. Einstein’s theories of relativity are extensively exploited, and at times these concepts even elicit emotional responses. The movie also ventures into more opaque fields of theoretical physics, which pique your curiosity to learn more after watching the movie. There are moments such as the spacecraft leaving earth where the music and direction couldn’t have been any better. The second half is as gripping as it gets, with scenes interleaving between different spaces and timelines, with numerous challenging but well-crafted scenes, stunning visuals, riveting music, and a couple breathtaking revelations. The robot TARS, with its bare minimum appearance, adds just the right amount of levity to several moments of otherwise monotonous dialogues in the first half. This is one of those movies where every aspect of the film has to be crafted perfectly and put together beautifully in order for it to work and Nolan is just the man for the job. From Hans Zimmer’s music to Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography to Matthew McConaughey’s acting, there is a perfect conflation of skills to make the movie what it is.
Although people do a lot of nitpicking when it comes to Nolan’s movies, the plot of this movie, is scientifically possible, even though highly improbable, and the logic is irreproachable. I’ve had to ponder for a while to make sense of it all but that’s what makes the movie so great, that it leaves you thinking about it long after its over. I will give it a 9 on 10. Must watch.