Interstellar is a great movie. I cannot recall a movie that has had this effect on me since Kubrick’s 2001 or Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Interstellar asks “what will mankind become? What are his limits?” and boldly answers “more great than we can now conceive”.
The scene is set early. The parent, a former astronaut, played by McConaughey, is in a parent-teachers conference. His daughter, Murph, has been in a fight with some boys over the reality of the Apollo program, now some eighty years or so in the past. McConaughey’s old text books have educated her into the notion that the Apollo landings on the moon had actually taken place, while the teacher blandly insists that, as we all now know, they were faked to cause the Russians to overspend on military equipment and bankrupt themselves. The assurance of the teacher – her absolute conviction – is like the conviction of people who believe in man-made global warming.
This is our signal that director Christopher Nolan is challenging the prevailing mindset of limits to growth, earth is our home, Gaia is angry, even as his plot envisions the “blight”, a world wide emergence of a microscopic life form which is transforming the planet, eating the oxygen and breathing out nitrogen. Humans will suffocate in a few generations unless they find a new place to live. Yes, Gaia is doing her thing, transforming once again the conditions of life, just as bacteria breathing out oxygen a few billion years ago transformed life on this plant, giving rise to oxygen breathing creatures, from fish upwards, that live on oxygen, and killing most of the anaerobic bacteria that had dominated hitherto.
The imagery is stunning, the science plausible, the characters well acted. Hans Zimmer’s music is occasionally overwhelming, as it is meant to be.
The entire effect of the film is stunning. The Wikipedia plot synopsis will tell you all you need to know.
The point of the film however, is that humanity of the future has been sending information back in time, through the force of gravity, to enable their ancestors to get off the planet. Our descendants have figured how to move around in time as if it were a dimension of space. The film offers a refreshing refutation of the prevailing current assumptions of cultural and scientific decline, and that we are bound to this planet.
You do not have to believe the vision presented by Christopher Nolan to enjoy the hugely stimulating mind-romp he gives the viewer.
A final point: earth is not dying, as the reviewers may suggest; it is turning into something hostile to oxygen-based life.The film suggests that man is subject to forces much greater than his own doings, and by implication, that if we think changes of a few degrees in average global temperature are huge, wait until you contemplate what real change would be like. I think it no accident that the villain is a Dr. Mann, named I suspect after the climate scientist of the “hockey stick” hoax.
I urge the forward edge of the bell curve to see it.