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Last Night I Watched: ‘Interstellar’

Despite the difficulties cinemas have faced in the last 18 months, and the insatiable rise of streaming services, there is no doubt that the best film experience is achieved when sat in front of the big screen. It captures the drama and the tension better, the noise is louder and the immersion makes you feel transcended for two and a half hours.

Despite my very high expectations, it was a huge treat

Last week, I watched the magnificent Interstellar for the second time, but the first in front of a big screen. After seeing Christopher Nolan’s film for the first time in mid-2020, I became desperate to see it again, but in a cinema. Fortunately, despite being a 2014 film, I saw that Warwick Student Cinema were playing it. Despite my very high expectations, it was a huge treat. Every scene, from the dust storms at Copper’s farm and fields to the wormhole entry were made that bit better on the big screen. However, it was all the space scenes from aboard the Endurance space ship, or amazing pans of the black hole ‘Gargantua’ that were really breath-taking.

Nothing is quite suited as well to a cinema than outer space. You feel completely transformed watching Nolan’s cast of astronauts face impossible challenges in improbable locations. The story of the film itself is one of the best I’ve seen. Humanity is facing an existential crisis from a climate that has gone too far from the brink, and as a result food is in shortage. The solution, according to NASA, is to find another suitable, liveable planet and start again. Our main protagonist, Cooper, must go into the stars to find it, leaving behind the family he loves so much. What follows is a brilliantly thought through story of exploration, stunning visuals and continual battle to keep human emotion in check, and scientific thought dominant.

Each member of the supporting cast is excellent too, particular Michael Caine, as always, who plays Dr Brand

Cooper is played fantastically well by Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey. The brilliance of his character is that he is a man born in the wrong time, but the exact kind of man humanity needed in that moment. He comes across perfectly as an astronaut torn by emotional loss and parental desperation, but he is also innately smart and capable. Copper’s daughter, Murph, played by Mackenzie Foy when younger and Jessica Chastain when older, reflects beautifully what losing parents as a child can be like. Each member of the supporting cast is excellent too, particular Michael Caine, as always, who plays Dr Brand.

Nolan’s films typically ponder big, physical questions, and Interstellar is no different, concerning the realities of vast space travel. Interstellar travel can involve time relativity differences on massive scales, as the film demonstrates. Our pre-conceived notions of time cannot understand how Copper can return to his home planet at the age of over 100 Earth years but with a body biologically under 40. The film shows we are not quite ready, nor may we ever be, for how socially shattering travel into the galaxy can be.

The film’s many layers fully grip you, as does the soundtrack, developed by the legendary composer Hans Zimmer

On occasion, Nolan’s films have been critiqued for being too complex and difficult to grasp. This one hits the sweet spot, where it pushes the viewer but keeps them along for the ride. The film’s many layers fully grip you, as does the soundtrack, developed by the legendary composer Hans Zimmer. It captures the story’s fear, stakes and also the extraordinary actions we see unfold.

This film is one everyone has to see. I cannot fault it at all. It has everything a top film should: great writing, outstanding cinematography, stunning CGI and superb acting. If you do ever get the chance, watch it and try to see it at a cinema.

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