Reel Talk: ‘Interstellar’ is a technical marvel and a beautiful film

interstellar By Sean van der Heijden

Christopher Nolan’s latest film, ‘Interstellar,’ has, as usual, divided fans and critics. Some are calling it pretentious, familiar storytelling, while others are saying it is a bold, unique film unlike any ever made. While you really have to watch it to find out, the film concerns a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in order to find another habitable planet while, back at home, earth is slowly wasting away.

The one thing that I can say about ‘Interstellar’ is that it is the most well-made film I’ve ever seen. Every shot is pure perfection—a work of art—and the visual effects are utterly stunning. Black holes, wormholes, and other space oddities are depicted here like never before—they actually had to invent new software based on the works of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne in order to achieve their vision. Other technical components, such as Nolan’s direction, a fantastic (but way too loud) score by Hans Zimmer, and striking cinematography from Hoyte Van Hoytema, all help add to the epic vision of space Nolan wanted to convey.

The acting, too, was very good. Everyone is at the top of their game, from Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine, to supporting actors like Casey Affleck, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and (surprise!) Matt Damon. An additional standout was Mackenzie Foy, who plays McConaughey’s daughter and expertly sets up the emotional tension for the rest of the film.

So why are there so many detractors for this film? There really aren’t, it’s just that they are being very vocal, and for two reasons: first off, Nolan critics are always fast to point out his heavy use of expositional dialogue and overcomplicated plotlines. Both exist here, but for the most part are handled well. Secondly, the plot itself isn’t as grand as the ideas Nolan grapples with here. I don’t agree with every plot choice Nolan made—some parts were made overly dramatic for no reason, and small parts could have been cut—but thought the overall plot was pretty original and well thought-out.

Additionally, critics have pointed to the science in the film: while it’s mostly sound, a lot of it is very complex, and they do bend the rules a bit for plot purposes. I didn’t find either of these to be an issue, and everything was explained in pretty simplistic terms. Also, the film does happen in the future, so holding its world to the limited science of our world seems unfair.

It’s hard not to be moved by this film’s message, too—by its vision of the future, and by the urgency with which it pushes us forwards. Yes, it makes you feel tiny compared to the vast frontiers of space yet to be explored. But it also makes you hopeful—it makes you feel that, no matter what direction we are heading in as a society, there is always the possibility for change. For this, any issues with the film can easily be overlooked.

Overall: 9.5 out of 10.

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