Dir. Christopher Nolan
Screenplay: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan
Exec Prod: Jordan Goldberg, Jake Meyers, Kip Thorne, Thomas Tull
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow.
Christopher Nolan is an elitist filmmaker whose films offer very little insight into anything. He chooses to make visually nice films, with flashy set designs, minimalist effects, realist sound effects, and good actors. In his new film Interstellar, reels you into the In this not so distant future, where the last crop on earth is corn, and Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) former engineer and astronaut, now farmer and father of two, must save the earth with the help of Amelia Bran (Anne Hathaway) a no nonsense astro physicist and daughter of Cooper’s mentor Professor Brand (Michael Cain). When I first seen the trailer to this movie, I thought, oh woopty do, we’re going to space, NEXT. But the fact that Nolan divulges what the movie is about several different times, make me wonder just what the heck this movie was made for. From the very opening scene, there is documentary footage as if something has happened and what we’re viewing is some how in the past. So immediately, I started to think, what I’m viewing, where I’m at, is questionable. The people in the doc are elderly, and reminiscing about farming days, and then comes the overhead shot of the corn and then we see Cooper, trying to console his daughter about the ghost in her bedroom. “There are no such thing as ghosts”, he tells her. The family of three (grandpa played by John Lithgow is at home) drive to school and Cooper attends a PTC meeting where he’s told his intelligent son will only be a farmer. Cooper, the former engineer and NASA pilot who had an understanding wife, now he has to deal with people who don’t understand him; borderline liberal people at that. The interesting thing about this encounter is that Cooper argues with a black man and a white woman (who tells him they teach that the first moon landing was propaganda) two people who can be seen in this day and age as well as in this scene, to be oppositions to the out of work white man, whom Hollywood and independent cinema seem to favor making movies about.
This film is call back to the simpler times, and it shows with the fact that Nolan with whole big ol budget, picks the main star to be white male farmer who used to basically “be something” “We used to look for our place in the stars, now we look for it the dust,” Cooper says to Donald on his porch; in his old dusty house; in a rocking chair. But what simple time is Nolan referring to? When America was green and plentiful and certain groups of people had no rights and the only people who had access to higher education were people who looked like him? Cooper is so unhappy with where he is, that he leaves his family to go to space off a hunch. A fucking hunch! By the middle of the movie, the punch line is revealed: the most important thing is that which you already have, and, much like in Inception, your reality is what you make it. So whether you chose to live in the past, the present, or the future, it’s all relative. They actually keep saying it throughout the movie. Can I go home, now? No. The film is unnecessary. It’s a waste of time, and just space for Nolan to make something because he can. Doesn’t sound like we’re too far off from the ol simple times now are we? Nolan does this very annoying thing by editing back and forth between space and earth. In space, Cooper and Amelia are trying to connect back to their space port to go back home, which requires some fancy flying from Cooper with the help of a robot The whole time, to add to the drama and to the fact the movie could have ended an hour and half ago, he cuts back to earth to Cooper’s grown up daughter (Jessica Chastain) race off to set a field of corn on fire to draw her angered brother away from their house so that she may find the answer to solving earth’s problem. It’s not so much jarring or amazing than it is annoying because timing of the film becomes off. It makes no sense to edit that way and theoretically, if anything he was showing that anything could be happening at any time in the universe. That’s where the elitism part of artistry comes into play. Another part is when Cooper goes into the black hole, ejects, and goes into another dimension and adds another 45 minutes to the film. I almost walked out of the theater.
Why? Because it’s like when a writer has nothing to say or has already said what they need to, they keep re-explaining it in a different way. What Nolan does with films is what a bad writer does in a story: he hides information in order to manufacture suspense and surprise. Whether it’s Amelia’s purpose of being on the trip, or how Professor Brand gets Coop to join the mission by not telling him the whole plan on how to save earth—or how Nolan hides that theirs a major movie star in the film without crediting him the same way he other stars do. The same way Brand plays off of Cooper’s nihilism to get him to leave what makes him happy, for an experience, is the same way Nolan plays on ours. We must be just as sad, bored, and unhappy as Cooper. The sad thing was that this film wasn’t even entertaining. Nolan isn’t a good writer and plays off of entertainment but cloaks it pretentious snappy dialogue between characters (another way he hides the depth of what they’re saying, which isn’t that deep) and his film aesthetics that look like a Gucci ad. The elitist and pompous moves a director like Nolan or even Quentin Tarantino, is that they know the general public do not know much, if anything about what they’re talking about in their films (I am of said general public) So, instead of setting up ways for people to learn anything other than facts you can grasp through Wikipedia views, he uses pretty visuals and the allure of an “experience” to bait people into seeing a film that doesn’t have much more to say than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and re-enforces values of a time where the right of choosing to be farmer or an astronaut, or both, belonged to white men.