Out of this world yet so close to home...
In a similar vein to Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007), Interstellar is set around the threat of Earth becoming an uninhabitable planet and the desperate search for an alternative future for mankind. In this instance the emphasis is on the diminishing crop life and the intermittent, suffocating dust storms.
Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer, widower and devout family man who is compelled to return to his aeronautical roots upon deciphering what he believes to be gravitational codes. These codes direct him to a hidden NASA facility, operated by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) who is planning to explore the universe beyond a mysteriously created wormhole for a chance of re-colonisation.
Cooper and his team, including Brand's daughter and biologist Amelia (Anne Hathaway), set out on a treacherous journey, fraught with a 50/50 probability of success and ultimately transgresses our comprehension of spatial and temporal verisimilitude with an overwhelming climax. Jessica Chastain co-stars with unexpected supporting roles from Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn and Matt Damon.
Christopher Nolan draws on his influences from Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott with fragmented, non-linear narratives and boggled our minds with recurring themes of memory and the complexities of science fiction, from his first major feature film Memento (2000) to Inception (2010). Often serving as a tripartite auteur (writer, producer and director), his other credits most famously include the reboot of the Dark Knight's vigilante adventures in the Batman Trilogy. After 16 years and 10 films, Nolan is widely recognised for his unique perspective in the realm of the visual arts, having been honoured by the World Science Fiction Society and awarded for Artistic Excellence in Directing at the BAFTAs in 2011. The realism of Interstellar is also noted on Smithsonian.com by historian Cathleen Lewis who acknowledges "it is grounded in the current concerns of our world; its plot is rich in the technically accurate science and technology of spaceflight and the movie pays homage to the best of the spaceflight cinema genre", as well as NASA's ongoing development of the theory of warp-drive.
The theatrical trailer thankfully only acted as a teaser for the first chapter of the story; building up to the launch of the awe-inspiring mission. And this was enough to urge me to see Interstellar in the cinema: the music, the emotional scene with McConaughey crying at leaving his family behind and the images of space on par with Gravity (2011). It became an absolute necessity. Even more so than the excitable wait for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. And this is a prime example of McConaughey's shift from his typecast 'rom-com' roles to serious drama territory, in films such as Killer Joe (2011) and his cameo in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) has termed his transition as 'The McConaissance'. Notably, his Oscar and Golden Globe wins for The Dallas Buyers Club (2013) have elevated his talent, as well as starring in the successful HBO series True Detective.
Nolan is a passionate advocate for films being presented in the IMAX format and argues that movies can only be appreciated properly on the big screen. His epic, fantastical blockbusters that are designed, or at least complimented by cinematic technology, are a USP to entice fans and film lovers into keeping the industry alive by choosing an immersive experience that cannot be replicated on a laptop. Interstellar's frequently quoted Dylan Thomas poem "Don't Go Gently Into The Goodnight" sums up the heightened experience of the movie: it doesn't go gently and so neither should you. Get to the cinema if you haven't already.