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DVD Review – Interstellar

3 min read

Interstellar, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, The Dark Knight) stars Oscar winner Matthew McConaghey as Coop, a former science engineer and pilot who is struggling to farm his land in a time (in the not too far-off future) where climate change has devastated the environment and caused wide-spread draught and famine. Realizing that a sustainable future on Earth is a lost cause, NASA has ambitious plans to utilize a recently discovered worm-hole near Saturn to seek out distant planets that may be more suitable to human life. Coop, also raising two children, is inexplicably drawn to NASA’s secret installation and drafted into piloting a ship for the next phase of the plan, to establish a new human settlement on one of the distant planets.

Interstellar DVDChristopher Nolan made a big splash in Hollywood with his film Memento, a very unique “reverse chronology” screenplay he wrote and directed which has become a classic and earned him a reputation as one of the most unique visionaries working today. Co-written by his brother Jonathan, Interstellar follows in the paths of Memento and Inception with a story that is highly original, endlessly fascinating, and very entertaining. Without getting into the complexities of a story involving Einstein’s theory of relativity, the film splits into two separate, parallel storylines. Because of relativity, when Coop (McConaghey) and his crew are on the mission, various phenomena such as traveling at high speed, travelling through the wormhole, or skirting a black hole, “normal” time for the crew means years or even decades for the people back on earth. So the two stories, despite taking place at the same time, take place over very different chronologies. This adds very interesting elements for the crew on the mission to consider, such has how one choice might affect the chances of them seeing their loved ones back on earth alive (or not). Full of unexpected twists and turns, the film takes you on a fantastic journey and you don’t ever quite know where you are going to end up. Throw in some very tense moments, close calls, and shock revelations, and almost 3 hours later the stories converge again in a very emotional ending. This fantastic, unexpected journey is like a breath of fresh air and resonates with some of the most talked-about issues of the day, like climate change and environmental stewardship.

Though visual effects play a role in the film, they don’t make it, rather the story does. The effects are good, but slightly understated and the visual style of the film Nolan created is subtle and not screaming for attention. Nolan also strikes gold when casting Interstellar, and the credits read like a who’s-who of the Oscar’s. Jessica Chastain as Coop’s adult daughter Murphy leads the cast along with McConaghey, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, and Michael Caine. Ellen Burstyn, Davaid Gyasi, Casey Affleck, and Topher Grace also have notable roles. Overall, the performances were outstanding but I felt McConaghey and Chastain were first-rate.

I have no doubt there will be extensive online commentary and scientific fact-checking about the theories of relativity used in the storyline, as usually happens with movies like this. I’m sure the story takes a few liberties here and there with the physics, but it is a movie after all and we can’t apply a different standard to this film than we do any others. It would detract from what is otherwise a wonderfully original and unique film, which stands out brightly in a sea of bland.

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