The wait to finally see Interstellar was painful. Painful. Absolutely wracked as to whether I should risk seeing it in the cinema over here in Bahrain, or just wait until it’s “accessible” for me. There’s no such thing as an IMAX cinema here, so there was no chance of getting to see Interstellar in all its glory. And I figured, seeing most of the spectacle on the big screen would be worth the thought of potentially having the odd swear word or something cut here or there. So cinema it was. THANK FUCK I DID THAT.
Christopher Nolan is probably one of my favourite film directors. It’s the choices he makes. While he embraces technology for his films, with the likes of the IMAX camera. He still relies on physical stunts with less use of things like green screen. Which are pretty standard in today’s action/sci-fi/thriller films. The kind Nolan’s known for. (If you haven’t already read it, read this interview of Christopher Nolan by the New York Times. You’re welcome!)
Back to Interstellar. I was blissfully happy and over the top excited to be sitting in a pretty empty cinema to finally see Interstellar. On the big screen. Big-ish anyway.
Interstellar tells the story of a not too distant, or removed, future where the Earth is dying. Humans have effectively killed it and in return, we’re getting thrashed. The only option? Go find another planet and re-settle there. From where I was sitting, it felt like a possible future.
The science in Interstellar was never something I was too concerned about. I took it at face value. Never for once tried to rationalise the use of wormholes or the space travel. Interstellar is a piece of fictional cinema, and that’s all it was to me. (Though it looks like robots doing our farming is becoming a thing!)
Hans Zimmer’s score knocked me out of the seat. Those organs. I always thought organs were a harsh, loud instrument that are just way too overbearing. Not here. Simultaneously powerful and strong, giving me goosebumps. Then bringing me to tears with the emotion they’re bringing to the film. Listening to it after the film, while working, brings me to tears. There are some really powerful pieces of music in the film. It’s my current film score obsession.
The one aspect I enjoyed most about Interstellar is probably the most spoiler-filled, so if you’ve been reading up until now and haven’t seen Interstellar, yet still are planning to, please stop now. PLEASE. Okay. What was I saying? Yes – the way Interstellar handled time. How time was made into a dimension – a physical dimension left this massive feeling of relief on me. Much like what happens when I’m reading a particularly time-bendy Kurt Vonnegut book. Vonnegut has this way of describing time and talking about the passing of a time that makes me feel totally at ease with growing older and having that feeling of time “running out” on me. I’m sure it’s not scientifically correct or anything, but that’s not what Interstellar was for me. Sure it has some sort of commentary on our day-to-day lives and the sort of technology and challenges we as humans face today. But the nitty-gritty of it all is using these facts to draw something creative and intriguing for the film viewers. To draw them into the story. And that’s what the “science” in Interstellar did for me.
The science and the characters. Emotionally involved was exactly what I was. Sitting there by the end of the film mopping up my tears with the sleeves of my hoodie. The decisions the characters make are epic in scale, but their repercussions hit closer to home. Watching Cooper receive a message from Tom, saying that that was the last message. That Tom has given up on his father, after what’s 20 years for him but a fraction of that for Cooper felt like a punch in my gut. Of course that’s what is going to happen, if after 20 years you’re having a one-sided conversation with your father who you don’t know is around or not. It’s hard for anyone to keep hope for that long. That stunning bit of score that plays along in that moment that nails it for me.
Interstellar fulfilled every expectation I had for the film. It was beautiful to see on the big screen. The story was compelling to the very last moment. While some could say the final conclusion was predictable, who cares? Just because it’s the most likely option to happen, doesn’t mean it’s a lesser conclusion for the story. This is the kind of sci-fi film I truly enjoy.