Jan. 3rd, 2015

starlady: (moon dream)
Interstellar. Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2014.

This movie got such mixed reviews from Twitter I nearly didn't go see it, but I'm glad I did. It's my favorite Nolan movie in a while, but I think it's his most genuinely felt movie in years, or possibly ever. And as a science fiction movie, I think it's pretty great. I think opinions about science fiction movies tend to be pretty mixed among SF fans, and it's certainly true that I haven't seen every SF movie that's come out since Contact (hey wait, both those movies feature Matthew McConnaughey, in diametrically opposite roles), but for me it was definitely worth mentioning in the same breath as that movie. Indeed, if anything, I'd say it's our generation's 2001.

At the outset, let me say that what I liked about the movie was the performances, the score (holy shit, the score. I don't think Hans Zimmer has ever done better, and that's saying something), and also the fact that it was so intensely emotional. This is a movie that always relates the consequences of its grand concepts back to the emotions of its characters, and as a consequence, I cried at multiple points, for the first time ever at a Nolan movie. I don't cry easily by any means, and for that reason I tend to use it as an aesthetic judgment. By those measures, this movie was great.

Arguments about metaphysics and science )

All that being said, I do think part of the reason the film got me so hard is because I've more or less lost all hope for humanity. The film tells, at its heart, the comforting lie that our future is still something we can control, which I really doubt is true at this point. I think it's all over in a hundred years, more or less, and so like Kierkegaard's knight of faith, I've decided to act like there is hope while believing that there is none. And maybe the grounds for criticism that I would find legitimate is that Nolan chose to tell this story, rather than a more despairing one. But I also think it's true what Cooper says, that hope takes courage and despair is the coward's way out. So, courage. Do not go gentle into that good night.