Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McCon-naughey, Anne Hathaway
169 mins; Class PG;
KRS Releasing Ltd

Oh Christopher Nolan, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

The way you tell epic stories set in atypical landscapes – whether in the innermost sanctum of our intimate dreams or the farthest reaches of outer space.

The way you create complex, fascinating and flawed characters and situations that bring out the best – and at times the worst – in them.

And also the way you do all this with such an awe-inspiring, visual flair, making your films a feast for the eyes, as much as for the mind.

Creating the mind-boggling and beautiful Inception clearly wasn’t enough. Nolan certainly boggles the minds a little more with Interstellar.

He takes the post-apocalyptic trope so common in sci-fi movies these days and turns it completely upside down, giving it an innovative, exciting and dramatic purpose, once more creating one of the most astonishing films of the year.

Set in the not-so-distant future, the film opens with Earth suffering an agricultural crisis that has blighted crops and caused relentless dust storms.

With food running out and the possibility of mankind’s survival on the planet remote, a team of scientists undertakes a dangerous and important mission beyond the galaxy to discover whether new planets exist that they can colonise.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widowed father of two and former pilot-turned-farmer, is selected to join this mission impossible, torn between leaving his family behind and doing all he can to ensure their survival.

Awe-inspiring, visual flair

Like Gone Girl a few weeks ago, it is proving maddeningly difficult for me to write this review without giving away spoilers, so I’ll ramble on about the film generally with little reference to the plot.

For Interstellar is so much more than a space exploration story. It is epic in scope, yet very intimate in character and detail, with Nolan using space as a broad canvas on which to illustrate the many themes tackled in the script he wrote with his brother Jonathan; themes as diverse as mankind’s ability to overcome the impossible and the intimacies of a father-daughter relationship with the complexities of space and time thrown in for good measure.

It all looks absolutely amazing, from the dust storms that threaten the population on a daily basis to the magnificent vistas of a dark and deep outer space; or the terrifying scenes of colossal waves hovering over our protagonists’ spacecraft on one planet; the forbidding and formidable frozen surfaces of another.

This being Nolan, it doesn’t simply look good; there are some deep scientific, existential and philosophical questions posed, and not all necessarily answered.

With the likes of Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn and John Lithgow as supporting players, it is redundant to say that the ensemble adds so much more to a film that boasts excellence in all departments. Kudos also to Hans Zimmer’s atmospheric score.

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