The first thing I said when I came out of the cinema theatre was that it reminded me of Christopher Nolan’s other sci-fi adventure, Inception, and I believe the actual words I used were, ‘it was very inceptiony.’ (whatever that means) I had just viewed a powerful film, dabbling into unknown territories, to which one may not even understand they have dabbled into, thus I have essentially been dumfounded by Nolan, his intention all along.
Now the inception factor only presented itself in the last 30 minutes of the film, but it made all the impact, tearing the films premise away from a scientific discovery to repairing a father/daughter relationship, through the wondrous abilities of time and space. Essentially, the film’s genre battles between science fiction and familial drama, as does the plot, with Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Brand (Anne Hathaway) embarking upon a mission to save the people of a now regressive malnourished Earth, unable to support human life, by travelling into a wormhole, in the hope of discovering a habitable planet. While Cooper’s calling descends, his 10-year-old daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) condemns his decision, thus beginning the anguish of their parent/child relationship, a plot point the audience root for, to become resolved.
As another sci-fi, blockbuster movie of transcending the boundaries of the human mind, Nolan wins big. The sublime visual effects not only pleased the naked eye, but also transported us from our ordinary lives into the majestic stratosphere floating many trajectories above us, in the belief that we can merely reach out and touch the power of science. Recently criticised for the incredibly high, distracting volumes of music overlaying the all-important dialogue, to which Nolan justified as deliberate and part of the emotional reaction, Hans Zimmer exceeds viewers’ expectations with a soundtrack of immense abstract instrumentalist sound. The juxtaposing sounds of reverberating organs against a dramatic use of silence represents the supreme rising of the characters’ mission, as well as the majestic image of the many worlds around us.
Now, the science of the film is all well and good, adhering to its primary status as science fiction, but the emotional intensity of Cooper’s duty to save his family drives the narrative to its points of conflict. Within a few hours of his life on a severely time-expansive planet, Earth has spanned 23 years, resulting in a grown-up Murph (Jessica Chastain) greeting her father with a bitter ‘you son of a bitch’ in her first video message, since he ‘abandoned’ her. But the most distressing scene, in my opinion, is when fellow researcher Mann (played by Matt Damon, probably to be noted as a big surprise, matching the many revelations along the course of the film) sabotages Cooper’s efforts to return to his family, leaving him struggling for breath, as he continues with the now-lost cause mission. As a sci-fi flick about space and saving mankind, the film delves deep into the emotional capacities of its viewers, presenting a moving epic of a father’s ultimate protection of his children and their futures, as opposed to all that conventionally-Hollywood ‘stuff’ of the genre.
The acting beautifully equals the ‘spectacle’ aspect of the film. Matthew McConaughey fulfils his role triumphantly, demonstrating the intensity of a heroic astronaut, as well as the strength of a father hoping to reunite with his children; asserting his incredible abilities, post-Dallas Buyers Club. Not to be pitted against one another, but from the two female leads, I am more inclined towards Jessica Chastain’s performance than Hathaway’s, despite her little screen time, regarding the power of thought-provoking sentimentality. But ultimately, this film belongs to McConaughey.
The ending was met with mixed feelings on my part, as the idea you create in you head while watching is moderately fulfilled, with fractions left open. There is always a spark remaining after all the anguish and separation, something I thought would be subjected to a form of closure. Yet Cooper’s duty ends in one place, to only open another. So, take from that what you will and if, and when you watch wrap your head around that.
So, after watching Nolan’s next, you will be amazed, you will be touched and you will have your mind blown, an eventual entertaining success in his books.