Good science fiction has always been about examining some aspect of the human condition in a new and different way, based on the perceived realities of a universe with new and different rules. Christopher Nolan’s latest opus “Interstellar” keeps this tradition alive with a story where love and devotion meet the dimension of time–and maybe some others–in ways not seen before.
The story opens in a new American dustbowl where it is made clear that the days of earth’s ability to feed its population are numbered. Chief protagonist Cooper –we never hear his first name- is a farmer, but had formerly been a test pilot for NASA, thought to be defunct, but now operating underground. He is mysteriously directed to a secret base where he becomes involved in an ongoing project to find a new home for earth’s inhabitants on the other side of a wormhole that has appeared near Saturn. While there is plenty of astrophysical gobbledygook in the film, respected theorist Kip Thorne was a producer on the project, and keeps the plot true to the principles of time dilation from Einstein’s special relativity. In fact, this is the artifice upon which the whole story depends, and by inference, and some specific dialogue, the resultant perception of time the artifice upon which the human story in general depends.
Matthew McConnaughey is pitch-perfect with his portrayal of Cooper, and to go with it, you get great performances from Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine …The picture is stunning in the way “Gravity” was, and the apocalypse on Earth is a refreshing change from the thousand Mad Max variations we’ve seen. With the processing power available to directors these days, it’s easy to make a movie like “Interstellar” that amazes…It’s harder to make one that engages. It hasn’t been done like this since Kubrick.