Friday, 7 November 2014

Interstellar (2014) Movie Review

This week, I did not go gentle into that good night. Rather, I went to a preview showing of Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic Interstellar (2014) starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain.

Interstellar (2014) is the story of the struggle for humankind to survive on a dying planet Earth. The key to said survival seems to be in space. Matt McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, among others, head out to the stars looking for a new home for everyone.

I went into this film hoping for a huge spectacle style movie with grand, sweeping shots in space, amazing, immersive music and lofty, mind-blowing ideas.

It's always nice to get what you pay for.

It's by no means a perfect film. At 2 hours and 49 minutes, it runs a little long. Some of the dialogue is corny and cliche. A few of the ideas aren't fleshed out well enough to suspend disbelief and the ending is something of a copout. Having said all of that, though, this movie is highly entertaining.

Matt McConaughey turns in a great performance as the father of two young children who suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of the saviour of all humankind. When you look back on his career, you start to appreciate how far he's come and what he's accomplished. His emotional range is dynamic and compelling. He's the lead in this film and takes it by the horns, never giving you any question that he's commanding the camera in every scene he's in.

Anne Hathaway is also very good in her portrayal as one of the scientists on the mission to save the world. She's the perfect foil for McConaughey. The two have excellent on-screen chemistry together, which allows them to boost each other's performances throughout the movie.

The visuals, sounds and technical aspects of the film are astounding. I was fortunate enough to see this film in IMAX and, boy, am I ever glad I did. The outer space shots in particular are incredible with the planet based shots on both the water world and the ice world equally so. Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema create these worlds for us to come and visit. At no time did I get the sense that I was watching actors walking around in a studio behind a green screen. I got sucked in for nearly every single shot that happened to the explorers in space and on alien worlds.

A little less compelling was the story that was happening on Earth during this time. Due to the effects of relativity, McConaughey's kids grow up while he stays the same age. His son, played by Casey Affleck, is a salt-of-the-earth family man running the family farm. His daughter, played by Jessica Chastain, ends up going to work for the same government setup that launched her father into space, trying to solve an equation that will help the folks on Earth save themselves. If there is any trimming to do to reduce the film's run-time, it would be to this plotline. Too much exposition and too long to get where it needed to go.

Other than these few minor quibbles, I have to say that I really enjoyed Interstellar (2014). Great performances, a thought-provoking story, stunning visuals and a soundtrack that kept giving me goosebumps throughout. I couldn't have asked for much more.

4 out of 5 stars

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