Review matthew-mcconaughey-interstellar

Published on November 10th, 2014 | by Allan Brown


Interstellar Review


Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)interstellar-imax-poster-movie-review-world

Running Time: 169 minutes

Rating: 12A

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Matt Damon



Movie Review World

Mankind was born on earth, but was it meant to die here? So asks Christopher Nolan in his latest mind-bending, science fiction epic, that transcends both time and space. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Interstellar.

Set in the near future in a time of desperation and struggle, the earth and its remaining inhabitants are caught in the grip of an airborne plague known as The Blight, a  disease that threatens to drive the few remaining natural food resources to certain extinction, as the very survival and future of mankind hangs by a thread.

Matthew-McConaughey-Anne-Hathaway-and-david-oyelowo-in-the-film-interstellarBut when a strange anomaly drives retired test pilot Cooper to a restricted airbase, he learns the discovery and presence of a wormhole orbiting nearby Saturn may hold the key to the survival of mankind.  Chosen (by a now top-secret and privately funded NASA) to pilot a desperate interstellar mission, Cooper is forced to leave his children behind on a dying Earth, as he and a gallant team of scientists including Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) , Doyle (Wes Bentley) and two obelisk  robots named TARS and CASE, venture into the great unknown in a last bid to save the human race.

As with Spielberg and Kubrick before him, Nolan represents the blockbuster auteur of a generation. He like the previously mentioned, use the grandiose and epic scale of a blockbuster film, to weave high concept, enigmatic ideas around deep thought provoking questions on society, and the world we live in today. These more profound questions and ideas – that are more commonplace in smaller independent pictures and personal projects – present a more meaningful and satisfying cinematic experience, and one that goes way beyond just visual spectacle. As a result, Christopher Nolan (along with a selective few) presents a glimmer of hope to the blockbuster, which too many – me included – is in a perpetual cycle of repetition and mediocrity.

With writing like this, dialogue exchanges are just as dramatic, emotional and intense as the visual spectacle that surrounds them.

Interstellar is the directors 9th picture, and could well be his most ambitious, most reflective, and most exhilarating film to date.

On the surface the film is a high concept non-linear space adventure, but that premise quickly opens into something much deeper. It boldly dances with the cold and complex themes of philosophy, space science and morality, but roots them deep within a compelling and heartrending narrative of a father and child separated by the fold of time and space, but whose parental desire and eternal love propels them to exceed both.

As Stars glisten in the distance and planets fill the black void with colour and wonder,  the vast vacuum of space draws you in to all its infinite possibility, as we pay homage to first time Nolan cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, who delivers one of the most jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring visual delights since Gravity.  Nolan again uses CGI sparingly – preferring to build physical props for the actors to work with rather than green screen – and Hoytema blends the physical with the computer generated to seamless effect.  Visceral planetary sites from the stark ice barren desert location, where glacial clouds hang from the sky creating a tense and imposing claustrophobia, to the flood plain planet, home to colossal tidal waves, not only act as visual references but force us to re-question what we define as habitable.

cooper-explains-murphys-law-to-murph-in-interstellar-movie-review-worldAlthough penned by both Jonathan and Christopher Nolan, with gravity, time, relatively, space and augmented realities in the balance, astrophysicist Kip Thorne was on-board as chief consultant and executive producer from day one, in a bid to deliver a professional realism that was as close to fact, as today’s  scientific data allowed.

Matthew McConaughey anchors the film with another captivating performance as Coop. His stripped back non showy performance – as is with all the cast – allows McConaughey to give it his all, showcasing just how much acting range and ability he has – and boy does he deliver.

In one of the film’s most moving scenes,  Coop who returns to the main ship after a disastrous venture to a nearby planet, discovers his brief departure was longer than he expected. We in devastation as Coop catches up on 23 years of recorded messages, from his children to a heart-rending realisation.

The rest of the cast all present equally compelling, non-showy performances.  Indeed, there are no big heroic speeches or winks to the camera here. Nolan has secured the film deep in realism, and as the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, most dialogue exchanges are for narrative progression only. However, with writing like this, dialogue exchanges are just as dramatic, emotional and intense as the visual spectacle that surrounds them.

Hans Zimmer’s score not only compliments Nolan’s vision, but lifts everything it touches with astonishing effect.

To accompany the visual wonderment and emotional drama on display, comes Hans Zimmer’s fifth score with Christopher Nolan, delivering – like it was ever in doubt – another breath-taking audible experience. Zimmer’s score not only compliments Nolan’s vision, but lifts everything it touches with astonishing effect. Tension is built to an almost unbearable level, emotional scenes become profound and everything in between dances under another haunting original soundtrack, from the incredible score master, Hans Zimmer.

It could be argued that some characters aren’t given enough screen time to make an impact or fully connect  like Topher Grace’s Getty,  while other major players like Casey Affleck’s Tom , drop out of the narrative without conclusion or any acknowledgement. This begs the question, is there a longer cut out there, and was Nolan under the cosh to strip the run time back by the studio, resulting in some characters being stripped bare?

In the end, Interstellar presents an incredible cinematic experience. It effortlessly marries the visual artistry of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with the heart and intimacy of Steven Spielberg’s early work. And while the film delves into the complex science of space, relativity, alternate dimensions (that presents a real chicken and egg scenario) and most prominently, our place in the universe, if we strip all that back, we are left with a heart-breaking story of a family torn apart by vastness of space and time, but whose inherent bond, drives them to overcome both.

Still trying to make sense of Interstellar?  If so, then fear not, click here for: Interstellar Explained

Interstellar Review Allan Brown


Summary: Thrilling, thought-provoking, challenging and deeply moving. Interstellar is not only Nolan’s most ambitious project to date, but perhaps his magnum opus.


User Rating: 4.6 (2 votes)

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About the Author

Despite my 9-5 being consumed by the daily duties of an Electrician, Movie Review World serves as a platform for me to share my thoughts, explorations and reflections on one of my biggest passions, film.

13 Responses to Interstellar Review

  1. JetsSlim says:

    This is a classic for the ages. Simply Epic Cinema!

    • Allan Brown says:

      I fully agree. Its not just Blockbuster spectacle, but heart and intelligence also. It reminded me a lot of Spielberg’s early work mixed with the skill and strong visual artistry that Kubrick brought to every picture.

      It was an easy 5 Stars from me.

      Cheers for dropping by Slim 🙂

  2. Grant says:

    Another great review.

    This really is a fantastic movie. The more you think about it the better it seems and I would imagine a second or third viewing would only enhance that.

    Found Anne Hathaway a bit speechy and the robots a bit cheesey with their settings ect.

    5 star review can’t be bad though!!

    • Allan Brown says:

      I agree that some of Hathaway’s dialogue was borderline exposition, and really only served to set up the ending, I am of course talking about the theory of LOVE that is proposed. It is suggested that love is perhaps not simply an emotion, but actually a higher function (one that we may not fully understand yet) that can transcends both time and space. – A leap, yes perhaps, but an interesting idea all the same.

      As for the robots TARS and CASE (that were clear nods to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey), I thought they were great and the humour they injected was well placed and never intrusive.

      I love the film, and even with its few shortfalls, it represents a director that’s willing to push the envelope of what a blockbuster film can be. Like Coop and his the crew on-board the Interstellar mission, Christopher Nolan too is a pioneer.

      Thanks for stopping buddy 🙂

  3. Hi Alan,

    Sorry this took so long but things have been ultra busy. You were good enough to write a long comment on my site so I’m returning the favour…late but I get there in the end.

    I do get that the future humans built the means for Coop to interact with Murph across all of her timeline but the idea that he was able to do this through is emotional connection to her -simplified as love because the film more or less does- was not an idea I could get on board with. It’s really a shame because generally the film was doing so well up until that point despite some major pacing issues. If any film approaches 3 hours it begins to lose my interest by default and it takes something really amazing to claw it back. This film didn’t really accomplish the feat of holding my interest.

    I would never knock a film for being ambitious, it’s great that it tried to do so and even though it didn’t work for me I love that the attempt was made. I also really appreciate that in 2014 someone has finally dared to tell an actual hard science fiction story because they have been sorely lacking lately. Even Star Trek -a franchise lauded for the attention to scientific advancement and the exploration of space- has turned into pew pew action nonsense with bland villains and boring stories.

    Hopefully the floodgates have been opened for more science fiction concepts to be explored on the big screen. I did like this film I would just never call it a masterpiece like many others seem to.

    Loved your review, was really good 🙂

    • Allan Brown says:

      Hey Bud, thanks for your comment.

      I would argue that while love is certainly a theme in Interstellar, the way Brand refers to it in the second act puts it more as driving force in the decisions, not only she makes, but also Coop. However, I do not think this is how Coop manages to contact his daughter at the end – through love. It is explained in the final act that the Tesseract was purpose built by ‘Them’ (future humans) for Coop, so he could understand the fifth dimension and pass on that all important data to save the human race back on earth. Soooo, from that, Id assume it was custom built for him and that location (Murphs room). I would also be willing to stick my neck out even further and suggest it was most likely future Coop that built the Tesseract himself (as he is also an engineer).

      Its a film that’s split audiences which is fine, each to their own and all that. Ijust find it a shame that films that are made with such passion and commitment like Interstellar get such a hard time and are victim to such negatively scrutinised, especially when other throw away genre films void of any substance or fresh ideas seem to get a free pass.

      • Me again 🙂

        I see where you’re coming from and it’s a valid interpretation but that’s not necessarily the way I saw it. Either way as an ending it didn’t work for me so no amount of alternative explaining will change that.

        Regarding your point about things being scrutinised heavily and such, I think it entirely depends what your network is and the things you happen to read. Most of the things I’ve seen happen to be overwhelmingly positive which kind of represents a larger problem with those who like Nolan films -generalising here- as I’ve had discussions with many people who seem to think his films are completely immune to criticism because he’s a genius, visionary, a storytelling master or whatever superlative people want to apply.

        I think the reality is somewhere below that and that’s not really a bad thing, I actually envy those who can enjoy films so completely that they don’t care enough to notice any flaws in them. That’s not the way my mind works and I’m aware that some of my favourite films are flawed in some or various ways.

        My view on Nolan as a filmmaker is that he’s good but not the perfection that others see. To my mind Memento and Batman Begins are great films, Dark Knight is good but not as good as those. Inception is just ok with Dark Knight Rises and The Prestige being -to my mind- bad films that I don’t see the appeal with. It’s all subjective of course but that’s what I think and I can make a case for why I think those things so that should be it, right? I’ve had discussions where I’ve been dismissed as wrong for daring to speak out against Nolan in all his perfection and people staunchly defending these things as if they made it. It’s not something I can really understand and it tends to kill the discussion stone dead. Mostly because trying to argue with a brick wall is just that.

        Referring specifically to Interstellar, I think that when a director aims higher then it has further to fall. It’s brave to try out something outlandish like Nolan does here and in a climate of sequels, reboots, adaptations and remakes it stands out as being original. Yay for that, it’s good to see a high budget sci fi movie that isn’t an adaptation of something else and actually manages to be good -I’m looking at you, Elysium- in a lot of ways. For me as I’ve said that bravery doesn’t quite pay off in a lot of ways but in a lot of ways it does. It ends up for me being a really good film with a crappy ending and an insanely long run time. That’s the case I can make for my opinion here. Those that do have problems with it have some of the same ones so the divisiveness comes from those parts which is interesting. Nolan clearly took a gamble and felt that some people would be onboard with it and others wouldn’t but it’s clearly what he wanted to do. Again, great but there are valid arguments for why it is and isn’t good. That’s the beauty of concepts like this, they’re designed to provoke discussion and there’s a lot of fun to be had in doing it.

        There are other things that seem to get a free pass but if you look you’ll find just as much hate thrown at them. There was actually a sci fi film similar to Interstellar in trying something high minded earlier this year. It was called Lucy and the execution was terrible to me on almost every single level. There was no talent or intelligence involved in making that concept work at all.

        In terms of not aiming so high I’ll use the example of Dracula Untold which was a pretty by the numbers fantasy adventure movie with nothing unique to say but it was so fully aware of what it was trying to be that it really didn’t matter. I was able to enjoy it in spite of the lack of originality because it never really tried to elevate about that. Conversely the new TMNT is the opposite, it has no idea what it’s trying to be and has no skill in realising that so it just becomes a directionless mess.

        I’ve written something of an essay here so I apologise for that but there’s no real need to be annoyed at the apparent hate thrown at Interstellar because it’s good to be able to discuss why people don’t like things and I think many people will recognise and appreciate the passion that went into the project while still noting that it didn’t work for them. That’s how I see it anyway.

        • Allan Brown says:

          Very well put my friend.

          At the end of the day, people are gonna like what they like and that is of course what makes film so great, diversity. The fact that Interstellar has generated so much discussion since its release, both for and against, can only be viewed as a good thing, and I relish the conversations it has brought.

          Nolan to me is a bold film-maker, and although I think his reach exceeds his grasp, the fact he dares to be original and explore new ideas, to me is what I find most appealing.

          Great chatting as always buddy. Keep up the great work

  4. Stefan Taina says:

    To me and my family this is a masterpiece.
    I am close to 60 years old and I can count no more than 5 s.f. movies as good as this one.
    I can’t wait to view it again.

    Cheers from Canada

  5. Daniel says:

    Great review Alan as always

    Got to disagree with earlier poster Craig. I’ve just watched this film ,for the first time at home, through the worst copy imaginable and this film held my attention start to finish. I didn’t even realise it was a three hour movie or I wouldn’t of started it so late.

    I think this has to be a five star film. There is so many different themes all the way through it keeps the mind ticking. Isn’t that what everyone wants from a movie? Well I certainly do!

    I thought the ending was very good also. The last scene of him getting in the ship to go get Ann Hathaway and help her with plan b ran in tune with the whole love and passion theme throughout. I think the director shows that humanity is a more powerful weapon with these emotions on our side and we achieve greater things. Isn’t that what the repeated poetry by Michael Caine is about ?Infact the more I think about it the more genius it becomes.

    Also I certainly didn’t think that love was used to get the message across to the daughter. I thought that through the watch ticking she worked it out with morse code as mentioned earlier in the film. I may be wrong but that’s what I got from it.

    The only part that I didn’t get was if them made the tesseract for coop to save mankind, how did mankind survive in the first place to make it ?

    Anyway I will have to watch this again to get everything but I thought this film was great and a must watch for anyone.

    • Allan Brown says:

      Thanks for kind comments buddy. It is indeed a stunning film and regardless of personal preference or quips you may have about the story or themes, from an artistic level and for trying to push film-making to the next level, it can only be admired.

      With regards to your last comment about the Tesseract and how mankind survived in the first place is the conundrum I mention in the review. What came first, the chicken or the egg? It is also main brain teaser that will send most folk mad if pondered for to long.

  6. garathon says:

    Its a bit of a shame that someone who can write as well as this reviewer is an electrician and not a writer….the art of writing going the way of the mammoth maybe……meanwhile some fake dumbass wanker can earn millions making shit rap or pop music that passes for art cos they sold their soul to forward an agenda that appears to have the effect of dumbing people down…..which is probably why this dude is an electrician and not a writer….cos a shitload of people barely have the intelligence to understand something like the above review.

    I dunno if the human race is worth saving to be honest. This movie paints a rosy future for man and womankind 125 years down the road but jesus man everything just looks like its turning to liquid shit right now….there definitely appears to be some sort of force on this planet working against humanity…so we are the victim on one hand……but the fact that the majority of people cant see this makes us a bunch of dumbasses on the other hand….are we really worth saving I wonder.

    The bit where cooper watches the 23 year old messages from his kids was very heartwrending….made my eyes well up a bit…not often a movie does that to me….enjoyable film overall……as was the above review.

    Why do so many sites require people to sign in to google or facebook or twitter or myspace or whatever just to leave a comment?

    This film will have you wondering about a lot of random shit would appear….just finished watching it 20 mins ago. I wonder how many hours until i return to non-thinking robot humanoid mode…..28 years ferreting around trying to get money to survive is enough to leave anyone braindead.

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