Interstellar

Best not hang about in space
I've never been a big science nerd, I struggled to get my GCSE Physics and from the moment I threw down my biro and walked out that exam hall I proudly thought I'd never have to deal with any of this stuff again. It was like the final scene from The Breakfast Club - hand in air, liberation from science. Then they make this film. Oh boy. Look, if you like your astrophysics reviewed in detail, then look away now. As I confess, even with that hard-earned B grade, like many Christopher Nolan films, I feel I need to see this film a few more times to really get my head round it. 

So, in the 'some-time' future, Earth has been rendered a giant dust bowl by a global crop blight which is slowly choking the life of out the planet. Professor Brand (Michael Cain) is a NASA physicist who is secretly working on a formula to transport the planet to a new home by manipulating gravity and pushing us all through a wormhole. Simple. Well... not quite. A team of researchers let by former NASA pilot, now small time farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) must zip through the wormhole and explore the new galaxy to find a planet suitable for mankind's new home.

That summary doesn't really do this film justice, as it's not really about that. Time is linear, and so is that plot, but the themes and ideas in this film extend, manipulate and bend further than gravity around a black hole.Turns out, it's all about love. Sheldon from Big Bang Theory will no doubt be disgusted. 

Here are my thoughts on it:

- 'They' have saved us. But it's not what you think, it's not extraterrestrials, neither is it an omniscient God, but rather, it is us. Humans, from the future, who have mastered time and space to communicate messages to save us via a Tesseract contained within the worm-hole. Helpfully, they made it look like that back of Murph's (Jessica Chastain) library bookcase. Personally, this feels a bit like hubris - can we really be confident we are alone in the universe? That we are the pinnacle of evolution that nothing greater exists past, present or future? Meh. Some of the humans I know, could win a Darwin Award, so I'm still hopeful we have time to evolve further. Dare I hope, evolve so far that we don't need to ravage our planet and each other?

 - Mocked by many, Andrew Lloyd Webber had it right when he wrote 'Love, love changes everything'. Who knew? Quite literally, it is the only force which can extend beyond our framework of physics. As Brand (Hathaway) comments, 'why do we love people who have gone' as she laments the potential loss and potential hope of being reunited with a fellow NASA nerd Edmonds who's pioneered the trip ahead of them. I liked this idea and it struck a cupid chord with me - love is a force which cannot be proven or explained by science - you can't prove it, but we all believe it. We willingly accept this, but not the idea of a God, or the concept of Tesseracts shaped like libraries - we are a contrary bunch.

- The metaphorically named Dr. Mann (Matt Damon) demonstrated the extent and desperation for our will to live. For me, his unapologetically selfish actions throw open a new debate about euthanasia. How can you really tell someone wants to die, as in those fading final moments, our will to survive can lash out like a primeval animal instinct in us.

 - As a Christian it make me think a bit more about how ideas around creation might not be so 'crazy', now I've got my head around the concept of relativity (three hours on one planet in one galaxy is 27 years on another planet in another galaxy). What's a hundred billion years to an omniscient being - could be 1 day in our time frame? But that's a whole other bag of cats to contend with so I'll leave it there...

This has just scratched the surface of a rich and interesting film. I'm still not entirely clear on the point Nolan is making, but it's a beautifully shot film with a suitably oppressive soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, (who ever since True Romance has not missed a step for creating perfect atmosphere). It's worthy of second or third watch, but immediate impressions are pretty stellar (sigh) and it could rocket (sigh) with cult success as I can imagine Blue Ray and DVD sales will skyrocket. Okay. I'm done now.

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