Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Directed by: Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight”)
Written by: Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) and Jonathan Nolan (“The Dark Knight”)
While the critical community may scoff, director Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”) really does turn out truly smart blockbusters aimed at adults. Sure, the landscape of tentpole filmmaking is changing somewhat, with Marvel Studios leading the pack with their well-planed barrage of interconnected films that cross generational lines, but by and large the movie-going public sees big giant releases as fare for kids and teenagers. These movies aren’t made for grown-ups. But a Nolan film is different. Playing with the house money that the box office success of the mostly masterful “Dark Knight” lined his pockets with, Nolan has chosen to create massive science fiction-tinged event movies for adults after every adventure in Gotham City, from “The Prestige” to “Inception” and finally to his latest film, the impressive, mind-bending, heart-tugging—and sometimes frustrating—space and time epic “Interstellar.”
Decades after some unspoken of devastation overtook the people and governments of Earth, the planet begins dropping not-so-subtle hints that man’s time is nearing an end. Blight is destroying crops all over globe, with only corn resisting the destruction. Mankind has transitioned into survival mode, forcing natural explorers like Coop (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot, to live life as a reluctant farmer. The same itch has been passed to his young daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy), who struggles at school in the face of a curriculum that has retconned the moon landing as a tool to bankrupt the Soviet Union. When strange things begin happening in Murph’s room, such as books falling off the shelf in a pattern, she blames the events on a ghost. Initially dismissive, Coop takes interest when he notices the pattern Murph found is binary code containing coordinates. Coop and Murph take a drive to investigate and end up finding what’s left of NASA, and they need Coop to lead a deep space mission to save mankind.
Much has been said about Nolan’s tendency to have his characters’ dialogue filled with loads of exposition dumps, and “Interstellar” is no different. Tons of science—what to the average ear sounds at once authoritative and full of mumbo jumbo—is slung between Coop and his crew (including Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley and a wonderfully wry robot named TARS, voiced by Bill Irwin) in order to explain what’s going on to the audience time after time. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter. The vast majority of “Interstellar” is captivating, with the high water mark coming on a planet covered in waves where a nearby black hole warps the passage of time. Less successful is a long sequence on a remote planet featuring an unbilled guest star who’s twist can be seen coming light years away. By the time the movie powers through its “2001”-inspired climax, you’ll realize Nolan has done it again: created a near-masterpiece that will have you thinking about it for weeks to come.