Wowsers, Christopher Nolan gets a lot of money to play with. Following blockbusters Dark Knight and Inception, his latest cinematic megalopolis, Interstellar, bulldozes its way through the gross domestic product of half of Western Europe. But is it any good?
It’s certainly ambitious. Middle America, sometime in the nearish future. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an astronaut in the Apollo missions, is now a farmer struggling to maintain his crops in farmland blighted by dust storms and disease. Worldwide food production is declining, putting mankind’s future at risk. Things are Not Good.
Investigating strange happenings around his house, Cooper chances upon a secret NASA base hidden deep in the countryside, headed up by his old boss Dr Brand (Michael Caine). Officially disbanded years ago, NASA are working on a solution to humanity’s imminent demise. The plan? Bundle everyone into spaceships and scarper to another planet. But where? Cunningly, NASA has already sent several missions to research intergalactic property options. Next step? Send a follow up party to review the shortlist piloted by, you guessed it, Cooper.
After a painful goodbye to son Tom and daughter Merv, who is devastated by his departure, Cooper blasts into the unknown accompanied by scientists Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley) and Romilly (David Gyasi). Plus vaguely sarky robot TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin). Plan is to spend several years in asleep in stasis, waking up in time to check out the first, hopefully habitable, planet. Inevitably, things do not go to plan.
This sounds simplistic. Interstellar is anything but. It cuts back and forth through huge chunks of time, expounds Einstein’s theory of relativity, mixes in repeated quotes from Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, explores concepts of three, four and five dimensions and adds emotional family drama for good measure. All to an alternatively crashing, clunking, electronic score, then periods of total silence. It’s often too much to take in, as if several different films have been poured into a blender and blitzed at warp speed, arguably best when it calms down a little. But full marks, Mr Nolan, for going for it. One thing it certainly isn’t, is dull.
UK release 7 November.