Film Review: Interstellar

A superb film, Interstellar shines with outstanding performances, amazing effects and a heartwarming story with hope, tragedy and triumph.

The premise of the film is that in the face of starvation, a small band of people and automatons dare to voyage across the stars to find a new home for humankind.

Performances:  Matthew McConaughey gives an outstanding and layered performance as Cooper. McConaughey shows himself to be credible as a father, a scientist and the Captain of an expedition.  Some reviewers are saying that Jessica Chastain’s gave an Oscar-worthy performance as Cooper’s daughter Murphy when she is a woman.  In Chastain’s relatively few minutes of screen time, she does hold her own with all the actors, even Michael Caine.  But we can’t neglect Mackenzie Fox whose performance as young Murphy shows the other half of the father-daughter dynamic that lays the foundation for the fourth and fifth acts of the film.  The audience’s belief in the bond between McConaughey’s Cooper and Mackenzie Fox’s young Murphy makes the last third of the movie work, because that is all based on Cooper’s love for his daughter and his daughter’s love of him. Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway do not disappoint as the NASA director and his PhD daughter, each delivering strong performances.

Some writers have complained about the sound mix.  I think the sound mix is actually one of the greatest effects of the film.  In some key scenes involving the starpilot doing making the space craft(s) do amazing things, the background noise and music tracks drown out the dialog.  I think the sound draws the viewer into the scene and allows him / her to experience it along with the characters.  In addition, Nolan prepared the views outside the windows of the spaceships in advance of filming the onboard scenes and projected them outside the windows.  This way the actors are reacting to what they’re seeing, rather than a blank green-screen.  Finally, the waves on the water planet, the views of Saturn and the black hole effects are spectacular.

I know it’s been out for weeks, but I don’t want to give too much away.  The first act is exposition and laying down the rules of the film.  It describes the blight on Earth and sets the foundational relationships among McConaughey’s starpilot, his daughter, Michael Cain’s NASA director, Anne Hathaway’s biologist, and the supporting automatons.  It ends with Hathaway asserting that her love for an explorer who left Earth ten years before her mission transcends space and time.  The second act is about hope as McConaughey’s crew of humans and robots dashes across the stars to find another home for humanity.  The third act is tragic as hope appears lost.  The fourth act is about determination to overcome the tragedy and the power of a father and daughter’s love reaching across decades of time and billions of light-years of space to solve the problem of gravity and save the human race.  And the fifth act almost ties everything up, but leaves just enough questions that you want to mull it over, discuss it with your friends and of course see it again.

This is a magnificent movie and it makes me wish there were a way to get the IMAX experience in home theater.  It is also a timely film because what America needs right now is hope and love.

What’s your favorite IMAX movie? Tell me about in the comments.

Thank you for reading!  If this is your first visit to St Thomas Place, why not take another moment and read some of my other film and television reviews? If you like what you read, click follow to read me every week. And bring ten friends back with you.

These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers.

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