Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Since first watching the trailer, I knew Interstellar would be amazing. After leaping to Genesis and all of one hundred and sixty-nine glorious minutes later, I can now confirm that my hypothesis was correct.
For starters, the most wonderful part of the film is the recurring use of Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (not just because it’s my favourite poem ever, but because it builds a sense of impending doom that only this poem could manage).
The film, set somewhere in the far future, follows a team of space pioneers – led by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway – who must travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to discover a habitable planet that can sustain mankind, or that could at least sustain a colony of frozen embryos to prevent human extinction. Planet Earth, by this point, is suffering from extreme blight of almost all crops – the result of ‘six billion people, and every one of them trying to have it all’ – leaving humanity to starve unless another planet is found.
In terms of cinematography, it’s a masterpiece, and predictably consistent with Christopher Nolan’s previous work. Shot with an IMAX camera, and using handcrafted sets, the film has no problem with mimicking a potential reality. Some of the scenes were even shot at the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Iceland in an effort to deviate from the use of CGI for the different planetary settings. Hans Zimmer, who also worked with Nolan on the Batman Trilogy, has outdone himself yet again, with a magnificent and momentous score for the film, the soundtrack for which is available on 18th November.
Along with its cinematic perfection, Interstellar also contains a genuinely traumatic account of separation and loss. The story revolves around the relationship between McConaughey’s character Cooper and his daughter Murph, which is torn in two when he must leave her to embark upon the mission. McConaughey’s performance is unimaginably incredible – admittedly, on more than one occasion, I had to look away lest I burst into Euripidean tears. Get this man an Oscar. But the agony doesn’t end there. Not only are they all trapped in a spaceship in another galaxy, but there is also the issue of the effects of time relativity, and how it alienates the characters from the Earth they know: a brilliant concept which makes the film even more amazing.
It is argued that the science is flawed in a way that causes severe emotional pain to scientists, however the film does stay somewhat faithful to the science it employs, and still manages to find a fair balance between science and narrative in an accessible way. For the complete layman such as myself with a taste for space, this film is a haven of cosmic wonderment.
It looks like we won’t be getting in a Virgin Galactic spaceship any time soon, so this film is as close as you can get to the most intense, gut-churning, fantastical space experience without having to leave the planet.