I’m not too familiar with many film directors. Sure, if a film is directed by a director such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson or David O. Russell, and perhaps a few others, it will get my attention. However, the director that I’m most excited about these days is Christopher Nolan, who directed the new film Interstellar. Nolan first got our attention with the creative Memento in 2000. Since then he has made the Batman trilogy – Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. He has also made Inception and The Prestige. So based on the director alone, I was looking forward to seeing this film, which Nolan writes with his brother Jonathan. On top of that, you can add a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon. Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn and John Lithgow.
The film is set in rural America at an undetermined time in the future –time (and love) are important themes in this film. We meet a farming family trying to survive – father, widower and former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy as the young Murph and Jessica Chastain as the adult Murph), brother Tom (Timothée Chalamet as young Tom and Casey Affleck as the adult Tom), and grandfather/father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow). Only corn will grow now as a blight has wiped out the rest of the planet’s crops. Most of the earth’s population has been wiped out. Massive dust storms come up and it is impossible to keep the house clean.
After one such dust storm hits the area the dust is arranged in a strange way on the floor of a bedroom lined with bookshelves, a room that Murph thinks is haunted by ghosts. The dust spells out coordinates that lead Coop and Murph to a secret NASA location, led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine). Brand shares his plan (named the Lazarus Plan) to find a home for the inhabitants of Earth before time runs out and everyone dies. He tells Coop that he is the right one to lead the mission through a wormhole near Saturn. He will go with Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), astrophysicist Romilly (David Gyasi), scientist Doyle (Wes Bentley) and two robots voiced by Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart to see if they can find a planet that will sustain life.
Tom and especially Murph don’t want their father to leave, as he will be gone for years, perhaps forever. But Cooper decides to go to attempt to save the planet.
The film was confusing at times with its talk of relativity, gravity, etc. On top of that, the dialogue was not only hard to understand, but often hard to hear as well. Film critic Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune writes of the script “It is hobbled by astronomy and physics seminars disguised as dialogue”. In fact Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist served as an advisor and executive producer on the film).
We saw the film on the Mega screen at the local Wehrenberg Theatre. This is a film that you’ll want to see on a large screen, ideally an IMAX screen. Sixty-six minutes of the film were filmed in 70 millimeter IMAX cameras and on celluloid, as opposed to digitally. As a result, the film features a grainier quality than you typically see.
The film is nearly three hours in length, and I felt it was slow at times. It includes some adult language and some violence. It was beautifully filmed and some of the film will remind you of last year’s Gravity. This is a good film, at times a very good film, but not the great film that I expected to see. If you see it, let us know what you think.