Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Wes BentleyDavid Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey AffleckTopher GraceMatt Damon, John LithgowDavid Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie FoyTimothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

Plot:
The earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be an engineer, but now he lives on a farm, trying to grow his own food, with his father (John Lithgow), his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet). Murphy is convinced that their house is haunted and actually figures out a message – coordinates. Intrigued Cooper drives there and stumbles on the world’s largest space project, trying to find other viable planets. It’s headed by his former professor Brand (Michael Caine) who promptly asks Cooper to join their last chance to find a planet in time. Even though it means leaving his family behind, especially Murphy, Cooper agrees and together with Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), they take off.

Interstellar is a mixed bag of beans. Visually stunning, scientifically apparently accurate, at least for a while (not that I’d really know), and with all around great performances, it nevertheless fails when it comes to the storytelling.

interstellar

It’s nice to see that apparently, the Nolans have made enough peace with their daddy issues that they were able to make a film about fathers and daughters, instead of fathers and sons. [Only a couple of films more and we might even get a film that features an actual alive mother.] Though it is surprising how little Murphy or even Brand (the daughter) – who is the catalyst of everything – are actually featured as persons and not just as macguffins.

And that was one of my many issues with the film. Because the women, apparently strong, independent scientists, only exist in connection to and with regards to the men in their lives. Ridiculously so with regards to older Tom’s (Casey Affleck) wife. Older Murphy (Jessica Chastain) makes it clear that she is going to die, if she remains on the farm. Tom says she isn’t allowed to leave. And that’s pretty much the end of the discussion. The wife (I don’t think she get’s a name, I’m not sure) has no say in this whatsoever. Instead she is only a token to be fought about by her husband and her sister-in-law. [Also, burning crops in the middle of a famine as a distraction is an awesome idea. A++.]

interstellar1But the women aren’t the film’s only problem. Several plot twists were so painfully obvious that it would have been better not to include them at all (looking at Matt Damon in particular). The science may be accurate, but pretty soon I doubted it completely, especially when it comes to the tesseract [the parts about relativity theory were cool, though]. I have had no problem believing crappy science in films in the past, when it was done right, but the Nolans didn’t make me believe. [SPOILERS] I’ve also rarely seen a more masturbatory resolution of a story: not only is it humanity itself that makes all of that happen – that, I think, is completely accurate – it is Cooper who sends himself a message, singlehandedly becoming the savior of the entire human race by almost literally pulling himself up by the bootstraps. [/SPOILERS]

With all of that the film just doesn’t really manage to live up to my expectations (or the hype), depsite the very many good things about it. As I said, the cast was fantastic, the visuals and special effects really great. I also loved the soundtrack – who would have thought that an organ fits space so well? Last but not least, despite its length, I wasn’t bored. But it just wasn’t enough.

interstellar2Summarizing: See it in a cinema, enjoy the special effects, forget the story.

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