November 9, 2014


It is always wonderful to see a genius like Christopher Nolan make filmmaking so effortless. It is even more splendid to see his genius blossom, while maintaining the humanely impossible ability to tell a complex blockbuster-esque story while revealing the transcendent at the same time. His talent is an envious one for any aspiring filmmaker. He reminds me of the musical group Arcade Fire, who uncannily can create such originally bizarre music and yet have it be popular and hence commercial. Yet Nolan is not making bizarre cinema whatsoever. The ideas he is attempting to convey are incredibly complex, yet he has a way of making them accessible to a common audience. His talent is a venerable one.


And here, at his shot at science fiction, having pillaged the commercially assured works of new-age fantasy otherwise known as comic-books, he has outdone Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, for the simple reason that Kubrick’s work is more convoluted. It is not to say that Interstellar is not overwhelming, in fact many will need to repeat their viewing to grasp all the nuances Nolan has thrown in their direction. Nolan, rather, tells an incredibly human story, indeed a religious one, predicated on a universe that is run on love versus Kubrick’s universe run on emptiness.


In Interstellar, the Earth is dying and with it, humanity. There is a secret cabal that has learnt this truth and has for years organized a means to escape the planet. Their only option, divinely given to them, is a worm-hole to escape the galaxy toward a new one that is possibly inhabitable. There is a repeated dogmatic belief in saving the species, and yet what propels the narrative is the attachments the protagonist has to his family and especially his daughter. I find Nolan’s consistent cynicism with egalitarianism, noted in his last Batman movie, to be laudable, as he surreptitiously communicates here the absurdity of living one’s life toward a voided goal, which here is not egalitarianism per se, but of a biological substance: species. It is effectively trying to live a life toward being a primate. It is, in other words, nothing transcendent, nothing that is worth dying for, and hence Nolan’s invocation of religiosity in this film.


The film-goer does not actually appreciate how miraculous the success of the efforts of one man and his daughter are in essentially creating the universe. How divinely inspired their achievement is compared to the corruption of the experts, the panel who started the Lazarus Project with its aim at propagating the species and nothing higher. Even with their inferior ambitions, this panel contributed to the clockwork of the universe and effectively the revelation of love into the cosmos. This Christian concept of God obliterates Kubrick’s masterpiece at human space exploration, because, ultimately, 2001 does not see man and his integration with the cosmos as anything subservient to a higher unseen order, i.e. transcendence. Nolan on the other hand reveals that there exists a purpose for the being of the universe with his story simply a testimony to it.


Grade: A+



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