Cinema

Interstellar: A wormhole that sucks you in slowly

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The film completely banks on Matthew McConaughey’s presence and voice and this is a true triumph of an actor’s ability to carry the philosophy of an entire film on his shoulders

If the basic plot of Interstellar feels similar to Contact (a girl trying to decode communication from outer space only to realise the obvious – that science and faith take you to the same place), that’s because Interstellar is an idea developed by theoretical physicist Kip Thorne and producer Lynda Obst (the minds behind Contact). Essentially, a reboot then handed over the Nolan brothers to tell the story all over again but with their brand of imagination.

And Christopher Nolan decides to mount it with the ambition of making this his companion piece to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Contact, of course. The result is an insanely indulgent epic that would make geeks sit down and compare notes on the take-off points from various sci-fi movies made by everyone from Kubrick to Spielberg to Cuaron.

In spite of being given the task of exploring themes and conflicts addressed in the realm of science fiction before, Nolan crafts a fairly unpredictable journey by venturing into space – not in search of truth (as Contact did) but in search of answers for survival. Every character in Interstellar is driven by the need to survive as the Nolan brothers milk this to explore notions of mortality, purpose, faith, design, home and family.



Genre: Sci-Fi
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Matt Damon
Storyline: An engineer chosen to fly on an interstellar expedition to save the planet from extinction promises his little daughter he would come back, no matter how long it takes.
Bottomline: A 'Contact' reboot that gets the Nolan treatment


The result is a rather slow but effective film that mines the premise more for meaning than spectacle – not that the visual appeal of the film is in any way less than what we have come to expect from the master of modern cerebral blockbuster cinema. As he did in Inception, Nolan walks a fine line between spelling things out and letting the audience figure out what’s going on ever so confidently, keeping his storytelling extremely simple and accessible even for an audience that may not care much for science fiction.

Because for him, it’s just a story about a father’s promise to his daughter before going on an uncertain mission – that he will come back, no matter what. No matter how long.

Nolan takes almost an hour to set up this emotional family drama before venturing into the science fiction space, literally… And every minute of cinema after that makes up for lost time.

Not that there is a sudden sense of urgency. It’s the same pace as before. But you have got used to it and Nolan has successfully teleported you into the seats of the explorers – you don’t know what’s coming next and you certainly have no clue if you are going to be able to head back.

Every minute in space may feel like two minutes in real time, especially towards the end, if you are not a Nolan fan. But that’s relativity.

The film completely banks on Matthew McConaughey’s presence and voice (luckily, the subtitles help) and this is a true triumph of an actor’s ability to carry the load and philosophy of an entire film on his shoulders. Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain get equally strong parts to sink their teeth into, Matt Damon gets a mean extended cameo but there’s no denying that this is one of McConaughey’s best ever.

While this may not be Nolan’s most original film, Interstellar is surely one of the best you will see this year. Buckle up. And feel what it’s like to explore the unknown. Into the wormhole.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:16:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/interstellar-review-a-wormhole-that-sucks-you-in-slowly/article6570543.ece

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