After finally letting go of his (and our) beloved Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan finally ventured into the unknown, to more ambitious cinema where no man has gone before.
Well, maybe Kubrick...
Still, with Gravity greedily and, some would say, undeservedly claiming the space opera genre last year, only Mr Nolan could swoop in and reclaim it with a movie crazy enough to make you completely forget that Sandra Bullock was once spinning around somewhere.
The film, of course, is Interstellar: a grand sci-fi blockbuster in which an ex-engineer/space pilot-turned farmer leads an expedition through wormholes and strange planets in what is essentially Earth's very last hope for survival as our world literally turns to dust. We spend some time with Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his family which includes his young daughter Murph (later played by Jessica Chastain) who seems to believe in ghosts and his father-in-law, played by a sadly once again restrained John Lithgow. Cooper then stumbles onto what's left of NASA and Michael Caine's scientist eventually convinces him to leave his family and set out for a nutty space mission he can't be sure he'll ever come back from. His departure into space is predictably met with bitter tears by Murph yet he still blasts off into the stars with another Oscar-friendly co-star (Anne Hathaway), a couple of other dudes and a blocky robot called TARS.
We finally wave bye-bye to farming and the rest is a visually arresting adventure through space you definitely won't want to miss. While Inception promised us a world of dreams and delivered very little in the way of eye-catching surrealism save for a train on the road, a paradox and a bendy city... oh and awesome gravity-defying hotel room shenanigans, Interstellar treats us to a 2001: A Space Odyssey-level scale with some surprisingly abstract moments, not to mention fancy new worlds and many more surprises I wouldn't dare ruin for you. This is Nolan at his most ambitious and his most creative and although the film's last half hour will probably alienate some, others will love the director's bold and out-there approach. The man hasn't shown this much willingness to go all out since The Prestige and it feels great.
Interstellar may look amazing but it's also full of fantastic performances, big philosophical what-ifs and nail-biting sequences which should be unbeatable for the rest of this year at the cinema. Even poor old Smaug should find himself beaten and whimpering in shame come December. Interstellar could prove too far-reaching (literally) for a few but, even then, this is unlikely to become another Prometheus, inexplicably reviled by so many. This is a Christopher Nolan film so, ultimately, there'll always be a pretentious speech here, a joke that falls flat there but, on the whole, Interstellar remains a masterful spectacle, a unique emotional experience and a movie you'll want to debate about long after watching it.
Further proof that Christopher Nolan can basically pull off just about anything at this point, Interstellar is a long one but it's paced appropriately and delivers enough action, brains (in a Star Trek kind of way, of course) and emotion to keep you fascinated throughout.