Let me start this review of Interstellar by admitting that I feel unprepared to gather my thoughts and form them in about 500 words. One does not simply walk away from seeing Interstellar and have a final opinion on the first viewing. Interstellar is a movie that requires you to watch it at least twice.
A coworker of mine, who is also a fantastic cook, brought up the randomness that makes for a good Mole sauce. She said –
“Cooking doesn’t always make sense. There are some recipes that include a seemingly endless list of ingredients that shouldn’t work together, but somehow they do. A good mole, for example, combines ingredients such as chiles, cloves, raisins, almonds, a corn tortilla, tomatoes, Mexican chocolate, garlic, a plantain and some French bread. In my mind, those components don’t work together — especially spread on top of shredded chicken tucked into corn tortillas.
However crazy it seems to combine garlic, chocolate and chiles, it ends up working. After simmering for several hours, the flavors marry to create a smoky, earthy, slightly sweet and decidedly savory sauce that is uniquely delicious.”
This recipe sums up the inner workings of Interstellar. It takes everything that shouldn’t work together and mixes it into a phenomenal experience that cannot be replicated. There are a dozen themes that make up Interstellar. Most notably family, relativity, love, time, gravity and somehow the supernatural.
Not much should be said about the plot. I could summarize it by saying that in the near future the Earth is dying. Cooper (McConaughey) and his family live out their days trying to raise one of the few remaining crops on the planet. Everyone living has come to the conclusion that they are waiting out their days until the world poisons itself, or hopefully that the dark time will eventually pass in a few generations’ time. Cooper, a former pilot, is called to head a craft in search of a future for humankind.
I’m going to leave the summary at that point. It doesn’t scratch the surface. I’d be willing to say that this movie doesn’t follow a typical three act plot structure. The pacing feels original and is completely unpredictable.
Interstellar is nearly three hours. Now, that is not a problem if you love film. However, I see this being an issue with the less-patient among us. To be honest, this movie does not appeal to many audiences. The same audiences who eat up Transformers, or even Guardians of the Galaxy, are going to watch this breakdown of quantum physics and possibly hate every second. Once again, this is not a movie for everyone.
Interstellar is a masterpiece. Lofty words, I know. Rarely do you ever watch a film and a filmmaker who brings something new to the table. Christopher Nolan grabs us by the collar and says, “This is what you should expect of movies! You don’t need to set your bar so low for entertainment!” I respect Nolan because he doesn’t pander in his craft. He is criticized often for making movies without humor. He doesn’t take that troll feedback and make a comedy. Instead, he continues to make films that will stand the test of time and not just be a flash in the pan.
Even with Matthew McConaughey’s recent upswing as an actor, people still get wary. If Dallas Buyers Club or True Detective weren’t enough to change your mind, Interstellar will. This movie rests on his shoulders. If he didn’t portray the part of a sorrowful father and born-explorer well, the entire thing would fall apart. We watch as the mysteries of the movie unveil themselves from his perspective.
The supporting cast is flawless. Between Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Mackenzie Foy, there is not a weak link in the bunch. The father-daughter portion of the movie establishes the literal groundwork. McConaughey and Foy together make the movie worth it. Without that connection, his space journey would have no weight behind it. The storytelling relies on characters. You won’t see a montage or an exposition-heavy scene describing what has happened the the world. Instead, you are shown the depression and you start to feel it.
I could continue this love letter, but I’ll stop now. I went in with some hesitancy. I’ve been dreading the day that Nolan goes the Shyamalan route and drops in quality. He has yet to disappoint. Interstellar may not be the most accessible movie, but it’s a work of art, and art almost always divides.