By Britton Perelman, For The Miami Student
I have never wanted to be an astronaut. Even so, there's still something intriguing to me about what lies beyond Earth. Maybe we've all been told too often that when we grow up we can be astronauts, but the pull away from Earth, to worlds we don't inhabit, is ingrained in our society. "Interstellar" is the cinematic evidence of this.
Christopher Nolan's latest epic is set in the distant future, when crops are dying and Earth is telling the human race to leave. A thick layer of dust has covered everything; the hope people once felt, the adventure of the unknown and the truth about past space explorations. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy; Jessica Chastain) uncover NASA's hidden facilities using data from a gravitational anomaly in Murph's bedroom. After meeting with an old professor (Michael Caine) and realizing he has no other option, Cooper makes the difficult decision to leave his family behind and travel with a team of scientists to explore other viable planets in order to find a new home for humanity.
Cinematically, this movie is astounding. The otherworldly landscapes and footage of outer space are gorgeous. Hans Zimmer's score, though overpowering at times, beautifully accompanies each scene. The cinematography and editing is impeccable. Nolan's precision and care as a filmmaker is evident in every individual shot, each perfectly composed, staged, set to music and edited.
Though the premise is entirely grounded in science, "Interstellar" is, at its core, a movie about emotions, the human connections we have with one another, and our will to survive. It's chock full of physics, astronomy and scientific theories I have no hope of understanding, but there's an emotional poignancy behind everything. Without realizing it, this film proves just how deeply our basic humanity is intertwined with science. I didn't need to comprehend quantum physics or the reality of wormholes and black holes to understand what Cooper was feeling as he explored the universe. That's the wonderful thing about emotions - they're universal.
The characters were lacking, though this wasn't something that proved detrimental to the film in the long run. McConaughey was at his best during emotional scenes, saying goodbye to his daughter, watching messages from his son after returning from a particularly harsh planet, driving away from his family. The scenes with his 10-year-old daughter (Mackenzie Foy) are by far the most heart wrenching of the entire three hours. Many of the other characters, like scientist Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), were underdeveloped and narrowly focused. The characters could have been more intricate and complex, but this story wasn't primarily about the characters, it was about the journey they took.
"Interstellar" is intelligent and complex. It's an experience, a fresh and innovative example of our obsession with space travel. There's more to it than there seems to be and a second viewing only makes it better, trust me. Like any movie that attempts to explain how we move through time, "Interstellar" will have you scratching your head and questioning what you believe long after you leave the theater. Everything you'd expect from a Nolan film ("Inception," "Memento," "The Prestige") is there; it's immersive, thought provoking and just begging to be talked about on the car ride home. Bottom line - it's what cinema should be. It reminds me of why I want to make movies myself.
I like to think of some films as roller coasters, and this is one of them. Christopher Nolan asks you to suspend belief, trust that it's going somewhere worthwhile, that you didn't wait in line for nothing. And you didn't because "Interstellar" is one hell of a ride.