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Interstellar ****

Ambitious, thoughtful and visually spectacular science-fiction from director Christopher Nolan, the man behind Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy.
In the not-too-distant future, our world is turning into a hostile dust bowl. Single-dad Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a highly trained test pilot, but his skills as a pilot are redundant. It’s what he can achieve as a farmer that matters.
That is until a strange event leads Cooper to a secret facility, and a scientist (Michael Caine) who persuades Cooper that it’s time for mankind to look to the stars for salvation.
Interstellar makes no bones about its nods to a whole raft of sci-fi classics (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Black Hole, and Silent Running, to name three) but it selects its inspirations well, and along the way proves a treat for genre fans looking for something new and original, but also a tad nostalgic.
As a sci-fi enthusiast, I’ve been pleased by the recent run of decent movies that celebrate what is (or, more specifically, what might be) out there. But even with the likes of Marvel’s quirky Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s an element of playing safe. So, it’s refreshing to see a big, ambitious event movie like Interstellar come along and tick a lot of boxes for long-standing sci-fi fans (including terrific robot sidekicks imbued with enough character and visual ingenuity to be remembered alongside obscure greats such as Huey and Dewey, and Vincent and Old Bob).
Interstellar takes risks, and admittedly not all of them pay off. The actors are all solid, and turn in solid work. Particularly McConaughey. But there’s a whole section with the movie’s unexpected guest star that feels off kilter and out of place. Its all-American approach to saving mankind grates. It’s exposition-heavy. And that runtime will prove a trial for anyone not entirely committed to taking a 3-hour star trek into black holes, the space time continuum, and the mind-stretching arena of relativity.
But, quibbles aside, this is big. And meaningful. And even if it ultimately proves more absorbing than exciting, it still gets a big thumbs-up from me.

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine
Director: Christopher Nolan

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