Nobody has ever accused Christopher Nolan of thinking too small. A master of the brainy action thriller, his films are as crammed with ideas and concepts as vehicle chases, and explosions (are although there are plenty of those too).
From the brilliant intricacies of Memento and The Prestige, to The Dark Knight (the best and broodiest of his Batman trilogy, with its good/evil Doppelganger undercurrent), to the wildly imaginative Inception, Nolan knows how to deliver a feast of a film that keeps viewers chewing over it for days.
His latest, the sci-fi epic, Interstellar, is no exception—although in this case, it takes a lot longer for Nolan's cool, cerebral storytelling to start pulling the viewer in. Those who categorically dislike sci-fi will find much to protest here—like lengthy sequences of gigantic pieces of hardware lumbering through space while orchestral music swells on the soundtrack.
|Surf's up on one wet planet in Interstellar.|
Placing star Matthew McConaughey front and center most of the time feels like a naked stab at down-home folksiness to soften the film's cold edges.
And yet, just when the ponderousness of it all threatens to take over the film, the prickly human element that Nolan and his co-screenwriter brother, Jonathan Nolan, have been seeding into the plot from the earliest scenes finally starts to pay off.
The relationship between engineer/astronaut-turned-farmer, Coop (McConaughey), and his daughter (played first by little Mackenzie Foy, and then as an adult by Jessica Chastain, as the narrative time-loops around) is especially nicely wrought.
This work of cautionary speculative fiction begins in a too-near future where climate change is eroding Earth's resources. Coop gets a chance to join a team of explorers who will be flying through a newly discovered wormhole on a quest to find another habitable planet for the human race. (Read more in this week's Good Times)