Interstellar, and the genius of Christopher Nolan

Entering wormholes and black holes. Exploring new planets. Trying to return to loved ones.  Searching for the meaning of love. Science.

And space. Lots and lots of space.MV5BMjIxNTU4MzY4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzM4ODI3MjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

These are just some of the many topics and ideas that are explored in Christopher Nolan’s stunning new blockbuster Interstellar. By now you have no doubt had at least one friend tell  you how good the movie was and about the amazing time they had, or seen more than a few posts on Facebook declaring Nolan a genius and visionary. But if you have not gone and seen the movie yet yourself, chances are you are undecided about whether to do so, or are unsure of what exactly all the fuss is about in the first place.

Interstellar is the first movie that Nolan has directed since 2012’s The Dark Knight Returns. It is also all he has apparently been working on in that time, and all his hardcore fan’s have been talking about. And as soon as you see this movie, the amount of work put into it is evident.

Coming in at just under three hours, and co-written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, Interstellar is the Nolan’s exploration of the mystery and phenomena that is outer space. With this one film, they explore ideas such as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Black Holes, time as an actual dimension, and the bond between a father and his daughter.

As the plot is understandably massive, and shifts to new directions and surprises multiple times, we will not touch on that here. All you need to know is that sometime late in the 21st century, Cooper, a father played by Matthew McConaughey, is approached to lead an expedition into Space to find a new life-sustaining planet. For everything else, you’ll have to go see the movie.

And indeed you should. The hype is justified. This is one of the more entertaining, emotional and thought-provoking times I have had at the theatre in a long time. It combines everything that Nolan’s films do best – crazy plots, interesting ideas, beautiful visuals, and superb acting. And we can’t forget about the music. Hans Zimmer composed the score, and as tall of an order it is, calling it his best work to date might just be accurate.

However, what cannot be ignored is the fact that upon release, the film was not received as positively critically as one comes to expect from a Nolan film. Rotten Tomatoes has only a 70% approval rate from film critics, which although not terrible, is a far cry from the 90% that usually accompany the best, most well received movies.

It is tricky to decide the root cause of this disconnect, because audiences approval rates are among the 90% mark. As well, it did pull in over $50 million this weekend, which is a huge amount for a November release (Disney’s animated Big Hero 6 did as well, which is just bizarre). But the common criticism seems to be that is just too big of a project. There are just too many themes and too many planets and too much science. And while those are fair views, and many of the negative articles make some sense after reading them, the movie just does too good of a job at instilling awe and wonder.

Although the movie could have explored father-daughter bonds or wormholes as solo topics, like Gravity did with the relationship between Sandra Bullock and her daughter, cramming them all into one movie just adds to the experience and makes the movie more memorable. It also adds to the mystery of the movie, and makes it very rewatchable. Like Inception, you will probably have to watch it at least three times if you want to grasp just what happened.

I certainly cannot leave out praise of the acting. McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Cain and more familiar names give such emotionally compelling and intriguing performances. Let alone the surprise appearance of an unbilled star who plays a key role as well.

Ultimately, if you want to find problems with Interstellar, you will probably be able to. But chances are that after you watch it you will be clearing your schedule to watch it a second time. The Nolans do a great job of using an idea that humanity loves to ponder, space, and add there own themes and questions into it, of which we may not think of nearly as much, but can’t stop thinking about after we leave the theatre.

Interstellar is one movie you want to be able to say that you saw, over and over and over.

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