Saturday, November 15, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar

In a time where the overabundance of science-fiction is starting to exhaust the genre of any original ideas, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a phoenix that rises from the ashes of tasteless video-game-like, half-cooked ideas, and it succeeds in bringing the genre back to its glory. With many references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar is as close as it gets to creating a space epic that can transcend time since Kubrick’s masterpiece. 

You all should go see Interstellar for many reasons. The First of which is that it’s very reminiscent of classic science fiction; it’s a graceful space journey that steers away from unnecessary hand-held action sequences, only to replace them with skillfully executed space ballads. The visuals are a beautiful marriage of computer generated imagery and practical effects, but what really brings them to life is a score that is as majestic as space itself. One could argue that the Hans Zimmer organ score almost becomes a character that is aware of itself, and due to its overpowering presence, it’s hard to ignore the juxtaposition of classical organ hums, and the tranquility of outer space, which gives the film its almost divine, yet eerie aesthetic.

Secondly, Interstellar puts you on an emotional roller coaster through an extremely human story. It’s hard to discuss the plot in details without giving away too much, but I’ll try as much as I can to keep this a spoiler-free zone. In a nutshell, the four-act narrative revolves around the dynamics of a father-daughter relationship in a struggle against time itself. The father embarks on a journey to outer space, promising his daughter to come back one day. Within these complex boundaries, Matthew McConaughey delivers the performance of a lifetime! Believe me when I say that the scenes of him and his daughter are goose-pumps inducing. The plot swings back and forth between moments of sorrow, and moments of excitement. Along with the performances, this pendulum succeeds in keeping you on the edge of your seat during the entire 3-hour runtime of the film.

Another reason to go see this film is the sheer brilliance of the Nolans. Their treatment to the narrative is similar to that of their previous work, in which a series of complicated events leads to an intervention from a dues-ex machina to suddenly elevate a character to catharsis. However, this time, it’s bigger than ever, and it certainly is more complicated than ever.  The narrative is composed from many counterintuitive plot points that are hard to digest, yet all of them are supported by real science. This film is the most engaging physics class you’ll ever attend. It takes you from Einstein’s Special Relativity to Hawking’s theories on wormholes in a matter of minutes. The plot tries to simplify and explain complicated concepts in very basic terms, which leads to the dialogue falling flat at times, and even cheesy at a few instances. However, with the complexity of the treatment, you’re never disengaged; the narrative is layered with messages and meaning. The deeper you examine the film, the more you can extract from it. So if you want to get the most out of this cinematic experience, be prepared to observe, listen, and take notes. It is the kind of film that you will end up watching more than once for the sake of deciphering its enigmatic nature.
To conclude, it’s fair to say that Interstellar is with no doubt the most ambitious science fiction project of our time. No other director has attempted to achieve this kind of grandeur since 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m not saying that it is as good, but it’s pretty darn close. In fact, it is the closest anyone has ever come to achieving this kind of artistry within the commercial sci-fi genre. It is not a perfect film, though; it has some minor flaws in the dialogue, but heck, nothing’s purely perfect. It is definitely the film of the year, and I expect for it to win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. It is definitely worth the viewing, and I highly recommend seeing it in IMAX.

For more information and the trailer, please click here.


Fahad Al-kuwari (@fahoods)

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you enjoyed the film, it is indeed a landmark that raised the bar of sic-fi visual telling. Enjoyed your review combining eloquently the best elements of a masterpiece.