If somebody ask you that, being a film lover, whom you think after Stanley Kubrik has the greatest mind in the history of cinema, you can say it's Christopher Nolan( of course, after excluding Steven Spielberg and James Cameron from the list, based upon the facts that they walk ahead of time and it's the technology that they explored helps others to make films as we see today). You have the proof now, running successfully in theaters all over the world, titled 'Interstellar', the latest work from one of the most successful film directors ever.
Initially a maker of lower budget movies ranging from the micro budget non thriller ' Following' to 'Memento', which used a never before seen reverse story telling method, Nolan established himself as a director par excellence. Then came 'Insomnia', a remake of the Norwegian drama, followed by 'Prestige', a mystery thriller acted by two of the best Hollywood actors, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as both of them perform role of revelry magicians. 'The Dark Night trilogy' and 'Inception' took him to the heights of Hollywood. Now, this time Nolan invites us to be a part of the ultimate voyage of time, a technique of traveling beyond time limits- a subject that is being interrogated and studied by scientists since long before.
Last year, there was Gravity- one of the top grossing films produced in Hollywood during 2013. The Mexican born Hollywood film maker Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki, one of the best cinematographers working in Hollywood today, gave us a visual treat with the 3D technology, which won several awards including Oscar this year. But the film Interstellar is totally different from Gravity. Gravity was all about technology, where those extreme lengthy establishing shot and the outstanding camera work gave us a never before cinematic experience. It has a simple plot that was easy to understand. Though both films are set mostly on outer space, they take different turns. Nolan's one of the previous works, Inception, used the dream travelling concept successfully which is heavily complicated and ought to be seen two or more times to understand the film completely.
This time, Nolan uses some more complicated theories of time traveling through wormholes in his film. It might seem complicated for the viewers who are never been into the science fiction films or books which discuss the concept, but more interesting to those for who were thoroughly following Nolan since his early films. Also people who are interested in the concepts and ideas like time travelling, worm holes, time dilation and neutron stars would find Interstellar as a great film.
Coming to the plot and making of this magnificent and spectacular journey of human kind to find the new home in order to survive, many times it reminds us of one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, the master piece of Stanley Kubrick. Yes, we are talking here about the actual 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are lot of similarities between both the classic and Christopher Nolan's latest work. And Nolan agrees that he was influenced by films like Space Odyssey. From the artificial intelligence system used in both films to the time traveling concept, from the models of space crafts in both films to the climax, the similarities are lying there clearly. But that doesn't mean Interstellar is not as good as Space Odyssey or it is another version of it. There is a possibility for an enthusiastic film lover who had been following Nolan and who is much familiar with Stanley Kubrick works to feel like he is watching the second part of Space Odyssey.
The plot deals with the story of a team of time travellers who travel through a wormhole in search of a new habitable planet. Matthew McConaughey plays the role of a former NASA test pilot and engineer turned farmer named Cooper, who lives with his family. Anna Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine play other major roles.
Interstellar takes Nolan to another level of fame. His works often use non linear story telling method. Only few directors like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrittu, Quentin Tarrntino and Nolan have applied non linear method successfully. Most of Nolan's works except some films like Insomania and Interstellar uses this method to tell stories. These kinds of works demand great level of concentration from viewer side. Also this story telling method requires a high level of thinking capacity to follow the film plot, if compared to other story telling methods.
Another interesting fact about Interstellar is that the film is not 3D. It could have been another visually stunning piece of art if 3D technology had used. One might feel like there is a lot of scope for some great 3D graphics that could have chilled and thrilled the viewers as Gravity had done. Still the cinematography is uncompromising and it's a must to say that the cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, who did outstanding cinematography for some recent films like Let the right one in and Her, had done a good work here too. Nolan, being a traditionalist, as always, have tried to reduce the computer generated graphics for his film.
Though Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan had made the script as simple as possible, sometimes the viewer may find it impossible or hard to follow the ideas and concepts of the humans' journey to explore the unseen outer shores of the cosmos. But as always, it is not at all a complete rocket science. Also it clearly establishes the point that the thinking level of Nolan brothers is high and as the audience, we have to raise our viewing and understanding standards.
Interstellar has an outstanding background score. Nolan had told that the film is better to watch in IMAX than in ordinary theaters, as they had used both 70mm IMAX and 35mm cameras to shoot film.
Interstellar is not a film that represent past or present. It's a film of future, much like the Space Odyssey and Cloud Atlas. The exploration of the team in the film for a new home makes it clear that our future, like many scientists, writers and films predict, is not safe here. There are new horizons above us. Let's hope that the exploration of human to infinity and beyond may help to make it possible to find new home in near future.
Don't book ticket for Interstellar with the expectations of watching some stunning visuals with groundbreaking 3D graphics technology that you saw in Gravity though both movies are set in outer space. And never miss it if you have seen and liked 2001: A Space Oddyssey, for you will find it extra-ordinary, moving, thought provoking and entertaining.
(The views expressed here are personal.)