How good crafted filmmaking should look? I know that everyone of us has his own answer to this question, and it couldn’t be otherwise. After all it’s a matter of taste. People are hooked by different stories, characters and filming techniques, but beyond the taste, we cannot ignore that there are filmmakers who are really good at their job; they have a spark of professionalism and pure virtuosity for cinematography, although they may offer many chances for harsh as well as fussy reviews. Christopher Nolan is definitely one of them. His last work Interstellar has his own signature in any single shot.
Interstellar is a film about the destiny of the human specie beyond the limits of our planet, out of the borders of our galaxy, and in its account of science and adventure, it does never forget the real core of the tale: characters, feelings and relationships.
Cooper is a former Nasa pilot who turned into a farmer. The world is afflicted by a tremendous famine and corn is the only source of food remained on Earth. Cooper lives with his children and his father in law but he’s forced to leave them soon, embarking on a journey that hopefully will rescue the human race from extinction. Nasa figured out a plan to move the human population to a different planet, and Cooper and a team of scientists and astronauts are in charge for crossing a wormhole nearby Saturn, in order to reach another Galaxy and find a new home for the mankind. Through the wormhole, the astronauts are able to win the limits of space distance and to sink into the dark, unknown universe night, seeking a hope of salvation. The journey is tough, problematic and eventually it drives Cooper to wonder about the boundaries he left behind at home, and it pushes him up to the edge of the space time, where time, memories and different temporal dimensions are perfectly intertwined and interconnected, creating time paradoxes and distortions. Towards the end of the film, like it occurs in many of Nolan’s works, an unexpected event gives a new key of interpretation to the whole story, connecting the beginning and the end regardless the unsolved and not explained questions arisen during the previous scenes.
…Interstellar, in this way, represents something original…
First of all, it’s one of the first times that in a science fiction movie technology and innovation aren’t the absolute playmakers. The world of Interstellar ran out of food, and has no time for developing new technologies or for sending people to study at the university. What is needed for real is something to eat, not books or new electronic devices to satisfy our curiosity and to be entertained with. This point is quite atypical for a movie of this genre, as science fiction has always took a lot of advantage from the technological and media revolution and Interstellar, in this way, represents something original which breaks the common rule of the genre.
The story, despite its articulated and multi-layered structure, is catchy enough to surprise, entertain and arouse astonishment in an audience for three hours of film, avoiding the risk of becoming dull or tedious but maintaining a compelling dramatic register which steps into several sequences. The plot is rich of events and creative prompts, even though the screenplay is mudded by some holes and at times it cannot give a clear or exhaustive sense of cohesion to the whole narrative. Though, these issues are partially solved by a bunch of affecting characters and by interpreters who raise their stake to the occasion. All of them are simply fabulous, from the tempered and multi source Nasa professor portrayed by Michael Caine, to the sentimentalist, beautiful and hard working scientist performed by Anne Hathaway. From the adventurous but coward Dr. Mann interpreted by Matt Damon to the warm hearted robots that help the heroes during their mission. A big stand out for Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain, who accomplish the hard task to make emotionally deep the love between fathers and daughters, which doesn’t diminish with the distance of time and space that separates them throughout the entire film.
…The Nolan Brothers are masters of dialogues, but in Interstellar they often preferred it to action…
Interstellar is stunning for the themes and topics that try to explore and it handles the science fiction genre through a complete different approach. There are plenty of expositive scenes in which the characters only speak and speak, explaining scientific theories and giving sometimes the feeling that we’re watching a science fiction documentary about Interstellar travelling, rather than a fiction space adventure. The Nolan Brothers are masters of dialogues, but in Interstellar they often preferred it to action, without even trying to make these static sequences visually entertaining like it was happening in Inception.
In spite of this fact, Interstellar is full of marvellous pictures and stylized visual passages that won’t leave the audience disappointed especially if they watch the film in IMAX. I have to agree with Christopher Nolan. Filming in IMAX, although is much more expensive, ensures a higher and more detailed resolution of the image. When it comes to recreate passages like the space ship crossing the worm-hole, or the fly around the black hole, or the giant waves of one of the far away planets, IMAX technology allows the director to compose his frames and footages with an extreme precision and richness of elements. Interstellar uses the impressive cinematography and lighting in combination with a flawless direction, and the result is a spectacular show for our eyes, which blink, cry or simply look admired at the dynamic sequences and wonderful visual effects that transform the film into an experience. While watching Interstellar, especially if you do it in IMAX, you have a very realistic impression, as if you were in that space ship too, launched millions of light years from home only to find out something extremely primitive: love is the glue that keeps the universe together.
…Essentially Interstellar is the story of a father who leaves his daughter to save the planet…
Interstellar might be banal in its final message and it cannot be considered Nolan’s best work. Nevertheless, it is a science fiction blockbuster that, rather than get lost in aesthetically impressive but empty filmic sequences, put the characters and the emotions on the first line. Essentially Interstellar is the story of a father who leaves his daughter to save the planet, and in leaving her it seems that the whole human race is abandoned to die on the decaying Earth. But it’s due to the intense love for his daughter that Cooper is able to complete the mission and go back home, even though many years passed, even if the world he knew doesn’t exist any longer. Nolan shows all his ability to make a movie, in which the visual effects and the looped complicated structure of the screenplay, find a perfect point of encounter with the profound humanity and emotional intensity that Nolan always aims at describing with his cinematographic phantasies. Despite that he always directs high budget products and for this he is blamed to be commercial or superficial, Christopher Nolan is one of the few directors who, regardless the complexity or the unrealism of his stories, always presents a very human and sentimental element behind all the special effects and breath taking actions that characterize his pictures.
Interstellar does likewise, demonstrating that even a commercial blockbuster may have the potential to talk about people’s emotion and fears, and to do it with success.