Standing Strong Forever / by Frixos Masouras

A simple human drama set on an unfathomable stage. There aren't many other sentences with which to describe Nolan's latest production. Thankfully I refrained from reading up on Interstellar, be it a synopsis or any reviews hence I literally walked in the theatre blind. 

I may not have read up on it but the hype was certainly buzzing just beneath the surface of every post popping up on my screen regarding the film leading up to its release. There aren't many ways that one can go about reviewing Interstellar. So let's get the simple stuff out of the way. The running time was never an issue for me. All three hours flew right by as I was glued to the screen, experiencing this extremely human story. In terms of production value, there isn't much more to say than it is very well filmed. More importantly however, it is amazingly performed. As a story it never buckles under the sheer volume of what is happening, and believe me it is heavy. Instead, it delivers everything it must without overzealous pizazz or blaring fanfares and the performances of everyone involved are the driving force of this "earthed" epic. There was never any doubt that Nolan could keep a tight ship, while making sure that his "soldiers" stay away from extreme drama or sappiness. This underplayed weight of the narrative is what makes Interstellar, undeniably, the film of the year. As a viewer you are left frozen in your seat, witnessing a story with immensely dark undertones but at the same time you are reminded that we, individually, are a world within ourselves. And this is where personal interpretation comes in.

The story itself isn't left open to much interpretation. It is what it is and the science behind it NEVER gets too heavy. I am no scientist, mind you, but some basic 101 stuff is enough to keep you on par with the expedition. Again, it is not the science that we buckle under but the implications of the story and the actions of the characters in it.  Writing this without mentioning anything directly from the story is as difficult as navigating an oil tanker through Venice. Is there a chance that you might find Interstellar to be slow? Absolutely. It is a whopping 162 minutes after all. Myself, even though through the first hour I came to a conclusion regarding a piece of the story that was to be revealed much later, my interest never wavered. And that's not to say that later revelations did not catch me by surprise!

There is also humour to be found in Interstellar and it comes from an unlikely source! One that is mostly vilified in other narratives, and seeing the treatment of said "characters" in this film further drives the point home that this is an extremely human story. Not just a story that has to do with humans, but with everything we practically stand for when all is said and done. 

I have to do this, so all you Gravity fans out there please excuse my short outburst... Gravity is a 'webisode' in comparison to Interstellar as far as human stories in space go. Gravity gave us a tiny little story wrapped up in the glossiest wrapping imaginable. Interstellar does exactly the opposite. It takes an ominously grandiose setting and hands it over to us in a tiny box that once opened, gets us all lost inside it for three hours. They are both comparable due to the fact that they dissect the human being down to its "soul" and reflect galactic light through. Meaning, what we are, compared to the cosmos around us.  

Don't expect me to answer anything regarding that or analyse that, that's what these films are for and you should give Interstellar a chance to recite its powerful story about what we are made of and its own interpretation of "love".  
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If you haven't seen the film STOP. READING. HERE!!!! 

SPOILER ALERT!!!! DO NOT SCROLL UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY SEEN THE FILM. IF YOU HAVE NOT, STEP AWAY FROM THE MOUSE!
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Are they gone?? Wow, I can finally breathe and speak about the film openly... Hopefully they are off to watch it. Now, I don't know about you but to me this was Christopher Nolan pulling a Spielberg. He gives us a story of near-ordinary characters caught in an extraordinary situation in which there HAS to be a man struggling with fatherhood. McConaughey kept away from anything over the top, although there were moments where his classic "Ok, I am breathing heavily now so it's serious" kinda crept through. Thankfully it was never distracting or overly done.  As far as the actual story goes, I saw through the "ghost" almost instantly since I knew that the science of the script would eventually have to enter the black hole (literally?), and as we (don't) know in films ANYTHING pretty much can happen in a black hole. I welcome that touch, since it accents the "love transcends time" part of the film's message. 

What I didn't expect was "plan A" to be practically fake and Dr. Mann being a lunatic! Also, I spend the first two hours of the film thinking "This shouldn't be called Interstellar. It should be called Christopher Nolan's Deception"! There was so much of it throughout the whole story. I guess that falls under the 90% honesty rule! That IS a wonderful insight to storytelling, I must say. You are not only allowed but also encouraged to deceive your readers/audience. We might feel duped for about 5 minutes but if the rest of the story is powerful, we forgive the creator and carry on with the story. Matt Damon pulled off the moronic Dr. Mann brilliantly and represented "conflict" that was completely absent on earth (in the film) yet prevalent in a galaxy far far away (I... sorry) between two lonely men. 

Hathaway's Brand was very much a human in love, unable to let go of a person she held dear. Then again, weren't they all EXACTLY that? Cooper felt that for his daughter, Brand felt that for Edmunds and Dr. Mann pretty much felt it for himself. Poor Romilly was stuck in a tiny space for 23 years so I doubt he even loved anything else at this point of his existence... having said that, the moment when they realised just how much time had gone by while they dodged the waves on Miller's planet came down on me like a piano strapped to ten anvils. Seriously, the impact of the story is soft but immeasurable in weight. That's what makes it riveting. 

Now, does Nolan attack his own species about overusing resources or is it simply that the planet finally hit a part of its course that, ummm, doesn't include us? Personally I never felt that he was pushing some sort of environmentalist agenda and I believe anyone focusing on that is taking their attention away from the hat that holds the rabbit. 

Much like the ending of Inception, where it doesn't matter whether Cobb's totem drops or not, the ending of Interstellar truly is "yours". Does he make it? Does she make it? Do they make it? My take is that they made it because, why wouldn't they? They are human, thus capable of greatness. 

The Best Director and Best Film Academy Awards are in the bag Chris. Congrats.

- Frixos Masouras 2014