Saturday, November 8, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar

Confession: I usually don't write movie reviews for films I see after they've already hit theaters. I consider it a bit of a "break" for myself, and I wasn't planning on writing one for Interstellar either. However, a day later it's still stuck in my head, and it's a fantastic and ambitious piece of filmmaking that I wanted to share with you.

The plot is complex, but the basics are that a 30-something former NASA employee, Coop (Matthew McConaughey), now works as a farmer. Crops and food have been scarce and are needed for this dystopian world, where raging duststorms are prevalent. He lives with his father-in-law, Donald (John Lithgow), and his two children, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy, and later, Jessica Chastain) and Tom (Timothee Chalamet, and later, Casey Affleck). His wife passed away a few years ago due to a clot, which would have been found except there are no more MRI machines. 

Strange occurrences have been happening in Murph's room, with books falling out of the shelves, and she and Coop translate some Morse code to get a set of coordinates. When they drive to the coordinates, they get a surprise: NASA, thought to be defunct, is still up and running. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), whom Coop actually knew from his time at NASA, tells him that Earth will soon be inhabitable, and entices him to go on a space mission with his daughter, Amelia (Anne Hathaway), to find another planet for future generations that is more inhabitable. The catch: Coop won't know how long he'll be gone, and he'll potentially miss out on the rest of his children's childhood.

For me, I could catch glimpses of Nolan's Inception in this film, especially more towards the end, and it actually almost seemed like a futuristic Grapes of Wrath, with all the duststorms. Bustle.com estimates that the beginning of the movie takes place in the 2060s or 2070s, which I agree with; Lithgow remarks that he almost prefers this simpler, agrarian-esque society to the society he grew up in, where people had to have the best of everything and had to have it instantly (which sounds like he grew up in the 2010s or even 2020s). 

Yes, definitely see this movie. I wanted to give this movie 5 stars until the ending, when the film starts to feel less like sci-fi and more like a paranormal/supernatural tale. The movie as a whole is grandiose in the best possible way, and the sound in it is so loud that it almost feels like a 4D movie - the leg rests in the theater in which I saw the film were vibrating because the sound was so loud. 

There are a ton of A-list actors in this movie who have cameos, also, and some of these have been well-kept secrets; I won't spoil them here, but you'll be surprised to see them on-screen.

The ending of the movie, though I won't spoil it, has been much debated: Cinema Blend in particular has an interesting theory (obvious warning: SPOILERS if you click). To me, it almost seemed like Nolan wanted to ensure everyone got a happy ending, and although I did overall like the ending he chose, it seemed rather incredible and over-the-top; although, one could argue that the entire film is over-the-top, though, and that is what makes it the spectacular movie that it is. This is the movie I wanted Gravity to be - we get backstories on the astronauts, and on the Earth's future - and it puts Gravity to shame, both cinematography- and story-wise.

This film is also designed to make you think, and in an age when we mostly see blockbusters or "fluff" movies, a thinking man/woman's film is much appreciated.

Interstellar is currently playing in theaters, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 169 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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