Everything about Interstellar is heavyweight; from Christopher Nolan’s directing credentials to the almost three-hour running time, and from the space hardware on show in extraordinary detail to the mind-boggling science.
But then, everything should be weighty, because as the main character keeps telling us – it’s all about gravity.
This sci-fi blockbuster is set in an unspecified future where earth is dying and the crops keep failing. For farmer and ex-space pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) existence is a hard grind trying to find enough workable hardware to get what crops he can grow harvested and safely stored away. But when all his combine harvesters go haywire and his young daughter starts complaining about ‘ghosts’ in her room, Cooper sets out to find hard scientific answers to what is going on. This leads him to a secret facility run by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and his daughter Brand (Anne Hathaway) who have basically given up looking for an earth-bound solution and are aiming for the stars to find a new home for the human race.
Torn between the love for his family and the realisation if he joins the space mission he will probably never see them again, Cooper makes the decision to put his trust in space saying: “We humans are explorers, pioneers, not caretakers.” This is when the film literally takes flight as Cooper, Brand, two other astronauts and assorted robots blast off on a journey into the unknown.
The special effects are truly wonderful – from wormholes to deep frozen planets and giant waves — and while the action keeps going the momentum of the film slowly increases. But then there’s a lull in proceedings and a rather meandering speech by Brand on the nature of love and how it can transcend both time and space. However, once the film gets over this hiccup it becomes an intriguing play off between hardware and human emotion as the astronauts spend years searching for a new home while Cooper’s now grown up daughter (Jessica Chastain) joins the professor’s team to find a way to lift all those left behind into space.
While the space tech gear looks fabulous, the astrophysics and science get really, really complicated and you have to concentrate in order to keep it all straight in your mind (they could have done with Professor Brian Cox giving a little explanation!) That said, this really is a heavyweight sci-fi movie that will definitely keep you thinking for days after viewing it.
And watch out for a special, unannounced star cast member who turns up in a surprising role.