Sometime in our not-too-distant but definitely dusty future, the folks living in the farm belt are having one heck of a time turning out the crops. Blight is hitting everything that used to feed their fellow Americans, it becomes quite clear early on during Interstellar, as a family with a determined man played so well by Matthew McConaughey beating as its heart fights to make sense of it all.
Directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan (with Joseph Nolan), this epic tale starts there and takes us far further in time and space. I caught up with the 2014 sci-if adventure on Blu-Ray at last, and it was well worth every one of the 2 hours, 49 minutes my dear wife Karen and I devoted to it up on the living room flat screen.
Nolan, known for winding screenplays like Memento and whiz-bang action in the Batman Dark Knight Trilogy, manages to neatly weave both into this very human tale of man vs. … well, man vs. himself, space, time and the unknown.
Not to ruin the mysteries involved in the spot-on storytelling, but we’ll start with the farm escapades of Cooper, the still-spirited McConaughey, as he trucks on with his teen son and tween daughter. They follow a rocket in the sky that he’s been tracking for a while.
One thing leads to another, and he and daughter Murph stumble upon NASA, which the government has told citizens has been long disbanded for financial reasons. In fact, we hear from Murph’s angst-ridden and quite tight teacher, text books rightly say that the moon landing has been found to be staged. Well, Cooper used to be an astronaut. He finds an old mentor played by cagey Michael Caine and his daughter, Brand, emotionally even by Anne Hathaway. They convince Cooper he’s needed to join the crew go up there to figure out how to feed and save mankind.
The stuff they encounter in space is quite amazing. Their robot is smart and fun. Part Star Wars. An astronaut stuck on another planet unzipped from his sleep bag turns out to be played by Matt Damon. Part precursor for The Martian. The science sounds so complex, could it be from A Beautiful Mind?
Really, though, it all comes down to family. Murph’s curve is so sophisticated she has to be played by three actors. The kid, by Mackenzie Foy, adult, by Jane Chastain, and senior, by Ellen Burstyn, all have their major moments. None of them can upstage McConaughey, though, in a sky-high performance.
What’s your favorite space movie, and why? What’s your favorite long movie, and why? What’s your favorite McConaughey movie, and why?