Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oscars 2014: Interstellar

Interstellar (U.S., 2014) directed by Christopher Nolan, 169 minutes

Five Oscar Nominations

Music (Original Score)
Production Design
Sound Editing
Sound Mixing
Visual Effects

I must admit that I was mystified by this film and had to think hard about the plot as well as get some assistance from a friend on the scientific aspects of the film. I think it best that you read the synopsis provided here rather than have me try in my ham-handed way try to explain it. The director Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception) is known for his challenging, thought provoking films. 

It is a dystopian future that we are presented with here. An environmental disaster has catapulted society back to a somewhat agrarian age with the population scrambling for
Christopher Nolan 
food - a place where children are dissuaded from pursuing careers in engineering and technology and encouraged to be farmers as the planet earth is in dire need of food production. Hence, Cooper's adventure with fellow astronaut Anne Hathaway to travel through a wormhole in search of a sustainable environment in which to bring Earth's future inhabitants.

It's a very clever concept (particularly in the scene where Cooper reaches out to his daughter decades later from within the wormhole having aged very little) but I do wonder if a piece of art is effective if the viewer must run to her computer to google the meaning of many of the terms and concepts presented. Perhaps this is just my poor knowledge of science and space exploration - but must I be proficient in these concepts to understand the film?

The film is complex but it appears to have drawn sufficient interest to be a box office hit so it may not be as daunting as I have presented it to be. Matthew McConaughey, as the lead astronaut Cooper, plays it in his usual laconic cowboy persona which appeals to some. I don't doubt his talent it's just a certain cinema type that does not appeal to me.

Mackenzie Foy, as Cooper's ten-year-old daughter who eventually comes to save the day, is exceptional as is Jessica Chastain as the adult Murphy. One of my favourite actors, Matt Damon, falters in his role as a somewhat morally twisted astronaut - this may be due to astronaut outfit he is forced to wear (which looks like it cost about $10) and in which he looks completely uncomfortable - sweaty, puffy and ill at ease.

Still the images in space are beautiful and arresting. I wish one didn't need a degree in astrophysics to comprehend it. 

Fellow space travellers 
Hathaway and McConaughey

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