Monday, November 17, 2014

Movie with Abe: Interstellar

Directed by Christopher Nolan
Released November 7, 2014

Christopher Nolan is, without question, an ambitious filmmaker. Most recently, he revived the Batman franchise with the immensely popular Dark Knight trilogy, and he helmed an Oscar Best Picture nominee with the dream-centric “Inception.” He has shown a clear enthusiasm for science fiction and for merging scientific concepts that are both factual and fictional. Now, he’s headed into space with a 169-minute exploration of what the future might look like, a recognizably epic and momentous journey that’s fully worthy of its intimidating runtime.

“Interstellar” begins in a dystopian future that isn’t too far off from the present, though resources have been depleted considerably and Earth’s inhabitants are subject to increasingly bad dust storms. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) has found himself to be a farmer in this new world order despite his past job history as a pilot. His daughter’s curiosity leads him to an opportunity to return to his old life and possibly even save the world, piloting an extremely daring NASA mission to find a new inhabitable planet for the people of Earth.

“Interstellar” spends its first act on Earth, and the departure into space is a thoroughly satisfying one. On the heels of last year’s “Gravity,” this is another look at the magnificent universe that’s both mesmerizing and terrifying in its absoluteness. The sheer magnitude of this mission – which is known from the outset to likely take years if not decades, particularly with the inconvenient nature of certain gravitational systems to slow time down considerably – is not lost, and the four astronauts who undertake it understand the importance of what they’re doing, especially as those they left behind continue to see circumstances worsen.

As with “Inception,” technology and science are incorporated in a terrific way, even if it may blur the line between the possible and the truly theoretical. Among the film’s best elements is TARS, a robot superbly voiced by Bill Irwin who has both the ability to be sarcastic and to adapt very quickly to whatever situation he needs. Oscar winners McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are well cast as two equally determined astronauts with strong motivations for succeeding in their mission, and the supporting cast includes standout turns from Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, and an “American Beauty” actor not seen in a long time, Wes Bentley. The film is full of exciting moments and dazzling effects, creating a suspenseful, gripping, and all-involving experience. The film takes a questionable step towards its conclusion but everything else, including the film’s final scene, is completely satisfying and a sign that Nolan can excel at whatever feat he sets his mind to.


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