Interstellar (2014)

interstellarposterInitial release: October 29, 2014 (London)
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 169 minutes
Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema
Screenplay: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

You’ve heard the expression ‘a game of two halves’? Well, Interstellar is a film of two halves. I loved the first half. Humans are struggling to survive on an Earth that should be renamed Dust. The population is growing thin as food shortages and ecological disasters hit. The air is growing thin too as it becomes ever more toxic.

The film shows how Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is trying to run a farm and feed his family in extremely adverse circumstances. The widowed Cooper lives in a modest Mid-West farmhouse with his teenage son, Tom (Timothee Chalamet), his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain and Ellen Burstyn – it’s complicated!) and father-in-law, Donald (John Lithgow). Technological advance isn’t so important any more as farming and food production is what counts. The accomplishments of the past are no longer celebrated but instead denied. The establishment are even teaching that the Moon landings were faked (an odd nod to conspiracy theorists). Yet even though Cooper, an ex-NASA pilot turned corn farmer and his young daughter Murph are in the gutter they are looking up at stars. The dust storms which smother everything reminded me a lot of Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ as did the bleakness of the family’s situation.

Once Cooper gets to the stars it’s almost like another Movie. The imagery hits you and there has been much said about Nolan’s advocacy of shooting on film. Some of the imagery is beautiful.

I didn’t like the story-line in the second-half. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this film and some really do. For me, however, it didn’t match the expectations built in the first hour. Still, this is a good film and well worth the ticket price – just not a great one.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

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