Interstellar (2014)

In the grand scheme of things, do humans even matter? After all, at the cosmic scale, we are but a spec of dirt in an insignificant portion of a very average galaxy (to paraphrase a famous writer/physicist). We’re nobody, really.

Interstellar reminds me of the best parts of Kubrik’s “2001: A Space Oddyssey”. The back story is never spoon-fed to the audience. There will always be moments when one is forced to ask “Why?” and sometimes, “WTF?” (i.e. “What’s that flying?”). Though it’s not as mind-bending as “Inception”, this is still a Nolan film, and you would need to think a bit more deeply than you did watching “22 Jump Street”. At times, it’s a mystery, at others, like a theme park ride. Some movies have plenty of special effects with hardly any story. This one has much of both.

Matthew McConaughey plays the role of “Cooper”, the reluctant farmer, who feels that he, like humanity, has lost his true calling of being an explorer. Mackenzie Foy is adorable as the 10-year-old “Murph” who, among other things, hates that she was named after a bad law. Michael Caine, John Lithgow and Anne Hathaway make it a star-studded cast, while supporting actors Wes Bentley (older “Doyle”), Jessica Chastain (older “Murph”), Bill Irwin (“TARS” – you’ll love this character’s sense of humor), and Josh Stewart (“CASE”) deserve special mention for endowing the movie with an even deeper dimension. I’ve left out a few – including the actor who portrayed the enigmatic Dr. Mann – all of whom gave stellar performances.

The physics of the movie are spot on (based on the pop-science books I’ve read) and light-years ahead of (ahem, forgive me) Star Wars. For example, you can travel forward in time, but never backward. Traveling even at the speed of light will take you thousands of years to reach the nearest star that can support an earth-like planet. Such is the sad prospect of ever visiting another world.

That, however, is where the agreement with mainstream science ends. As far as Interstellar is concerned, humans – and love – matter on the grandest scale. It will depend heavily on the audience’s frame of mind whether this aspect is inspiring, or foolishly optimistic. Like time, interpretation is relative to the observer. And in the time it took you to read this review, somewhere in the universe, a thousand years will have passed.

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