The Lost World – ★★★
Christopher Nolan’s latest film Interstellar is a grand old-fashioned space opera, where the love of family is the driving force and grandiose, spectacle and ambition are emphasised over much sense of plot, logic and credibility.
Current Academy Award Winner Best Actor Matthew McConaghey plays Cooper, an American farmer in the dystopic near-future who used to be an astronaut. He’s trying to keep things together as crops become endangered with Grandpa (John Lithgow) and the kids, Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and Tom (Timothée Chalamet), to look after.
When he and Murph inadvertently discover that Michael Caine’s NASA space program is in operation nearby, Coop is recruited to lead it with three other astronauts – played by Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi and Wes Bentley – in tow.
The goal is simple. Well it’s meant to be. NASA sent out twelve individual missions through a black-hole to find a new habitat and now Cooper’s gang have to find the best one. The only problem is no-one knows what goes on inside the black hole, or on the other side. Time is different in space, if we’re not quick, we’ll be too late everyone on earth will be dead! MUST SAVE EARTH FOR THE KIDS. CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
So yes, as you’ve guessed the plot of Interstellar is ridiculous. It doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny and why Nolan had to concoct such a daft premise is beyond me. He scripted it with his brother Jonathan who worked with him on The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises and The Prestige. The two need to spend some time apart as they clearly only indulge each other’s daftness.
Once Jessica Chastain’s character is introduced in the second half of the movie, she manages to lend the film some heart and you start to buy into McConaghey and Hathaway’s fight a little more, rather than just enjoy the visuals. And really it’s those visuals and Nolan’s scene-setting abilities that probably brought you into the cinema in the first place and will keep you in your seat for the 169 minute runtime. There are some truly terrific sequences that remind you just how good Nolan is at engaging audiences. Flawless work from the production design and visuals effects teams help to create a strong sense of realism as our likely lads head into space.
The film was shot by Hoyte Van Hoytema and utilises anamorphic 35mm film and large-format IMAX cameras. See it on the best cinema screen you can. Nolan is one of the few remaining anti-digital voices and perhaps if he spent a bit more time editing his brother’s script rather than extolling the virtues of grainy celluloid then the film would have been a bit more enjoyable.
Philosophically you’ll know within the first twenty minutes if you buy into what’s being sold. In my book the science doesn’t hold up, so it’s left to the biblical story of plague, journey and reunion to feed your brain. It all takes itself far too seriously – we get it, he wants to save home and then he wants to go home – no need for all the mumbo-jumbo.
The first reviews for Interstellar were glowing. It also quickly achieved a ridiculously bloated score on IMDB (it currently sits at 9.3/10, driven by a disproportionate 79.5% of Nolanite voters giving it 10s). There’s so much to recommend here, but it is way off the full package that we had previously come to expect of the director.
Released across Ireland on November 7th 2014