Interstellar (2014) {spoiler alert}

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

 

Review in one word: Stellar. 

Longer version:

The Nolan brothers and Dr Thorne have together created a very ambitious work of art. The movie is not just a movie – it is an experience. And it is not just an experience that you have once and forget about it. The movie stays with you and evolves as your knowledge does. It is much like Inception in that respect, so here, I’m giving all credit to Christopher Nolan for the mind blowing direction.

I cannot comment on the physics because I have a very elementary understanding of physics. I can follow what is going on but I cannot validate or refute any of it. The first thing I did after I finished watching the movie was to read about what kind of research went into it, and I am even more impressed with that information than I am with the movie.

The one thing that bothers me scientifically is the place of earthly life forms as three dimensional creatures in a five dimensional world. I cannot imagine that things would be the way they were on Cooper Station. Also, Cooper’s three dimensional existence in the black hole was much too beyond my comprehension. Am I going to be my own self in a singularity or in five or more dimensions?

It was a long movie – nearly three hours – and there was quite a lot of time to think about things. Of course, the acting was marvellous, Hoytema’s cinematography was dazzling, Hans Zimmer’s score moulded itself to the movie and the sets and graphics were worth the time. However, it allowed for a long time to think as well and I think that was what made the movie stay with me after watching it.

I loved how the story is not really linear even though the viewer following Cooper is viewing it so. It is a circle and tangents in terms of time. The movie is about mankind relying on a few people to “save” them but even with such a grave responsibility, there is human greed and basic human individual instincts at play. Here, I have to pause and mention that I’m aching to watch Matt Damon play an astronaut more. The Martian had set that desire on fire and Interstellar has only fanned the flames. There’s just something about Damon that makes him my ideal actor astronaut.

I didn’t know much about the cast beforehand, so I was very amused when “Dick Solomon” popped up at the beginning of the movie (referencing Third Rock From The Sun – if anyone is playing Six Degrees, then this is where you can connect John Lithgow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Maybe it is just me but Sir Michael Caine was incomprehensible on his deathbed and I had to piece together that part because of Murphy’s reactions. And then again, when “Seneca Crane” (the Hunger Games Wes Bentley connection) made an appearance. It was just that kind of movie where I had time to think so much even when I was completely engrossed in what was going on. That was because I felt I had little choice except to go along with what was on the screen because it was all going this one way and there wasn’t much conflict. In that sense, the events of the movie seemed “predestined”.

And why did I mention everything I mentioned in the previous paragraph?

Because, well, I’m watching Interstellar after I’ve watched Arrival, and this theme seems much, much better done by Arrival. The theme of warped time. In Interstellar, time is warped because it becomes another dimension which can be traversed in any way rather than just forward. In Arrival, time is warped for an entirely different reason but as far as the impact of the movie in presenting this particular theme is concerned, Arrival outscores Interstellar. I’m not even sure if this is a valid comparison but all this long earth time while watching the movie made me think of Arrival and then when near the climax, Cooper goes down the black hole, this is what came to my mind. I did NOT understand the physics behind anything that goes on during that particular part of the movie (and I have my reservations about what would happen to a human being in that case, and the selectivity of Cooper landing up where he did). However, from my meagre understanding of the story, I thought of this.

I’m going to watch many more time warp movies and then think over this more, but right now, this is where I stand.

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