Running Time: 2 hours 49 minutes
For the last few decades, the Earth has made its slow march towards oblivion. Plagues have been ravaging crops and turning the atmosphere toxic, and mankind has forgotten its conflicts and wars and thrown all of its resources into simply growing food. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former NASA shuttle pilot who was never able to make it to space before he was forced to farm to provide for his children.
It has become apparent that the only hope for the survival of the human species lies with a group of astronauts who have been charged with using a newly found wormhole to travel to other galaxies in the search for a hospitable planet to be our new home. Of the 12 who are sent out, only 3 managed to send signals that they survived the trip to their targets. Cooper is approached to pilot the craft that will send a team of scientists (Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley and David Gyasi) to each of these planets to rendezvous with their predecessors and choose one planet to be the future site of humanity. Even though he can barely stand the thought of leaving his family, Cooper knows that their future survival rests with him and his team completing the most important mission in the history of man.
Hmmm. I had a really difficult time reconciling how I felt after Interstellar ended. On one hand it was an absolutely fascinating concept that was inventively made (no green screen, all hand-built sets). On the other, it was a very long, complex and scientifically dense film that spends a lot of time vacillating between claustrophobic and bleak. As the credits were rolling I turned to the confused-looking man to my right and said, “That was the most interesting theoretical physics presentation I have ever seen.” I consider myself to be a fairly bright guy, but what I know about quantum mechanics, relativity and string theory could fit on the head of a pin. I understood just enough for the film to be intriguing, but I feel like a lot of people will find the exposition to be either frustrating or dull.
Ultimately, past the science and the spaceships, Interstellar is about relationships and hope. McConaugheyhas become a master at staring into the middle distance and letting emotion wash across his features, and the ache that tugs at him every time he thinks about the children he has left behind gives the movie the soul it so desperately needs as it spends so much time mired in the sterile isolation of space. Anne Hathawayplays a scientist accompanying Cooper on his mission who starts the film holding tightly to a coldly detached facade that is broken down bit by bit as the true human cost of what they have undertaken stops being theoretical and starts becoming reality. When her veneer shatters and you see her eyes awash with tears it is hard not to get choked up along with her. However, Interstellar loses a lot of its forward momentum because the last 20 minutes of the film is a baffling caleidoscope that throws concepts like time travel, gravity and the 5th dimension (?!?) at you one after another until you really have no clue what is happening. For me, Interstellar is more of an interesting idea than it is an entertaining movie. B-