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Real life has been a bit of a pain in the backside recently, preventing me from updating this site as much as I’d have liked. The film recommendations I’d been posting with uncharacteristic regularity at the beginning of the year have all but dried up. I’m hoping to put that right, and I wanted to start today by recommending that rarest of things: a film with apocalyptic overtones which manages the delicate balancing act of being positive without resorting to cliché.

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S INTERSTELLAR reminded me of STANLEY KUBRICK’S 2001 for all the right reasons. I’m sure many of you have seen it by now. If not, here’s a quick synopsis followed by a trailer. Click the link below for my thoughts on the movie.

With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history: traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.

Like many others, I’m a huge admirer of Nolan’s films. MEMENTO, THE PRESTIGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, INCEPTION… he has an incredible body of work which is consistently intelligent and thought-provoking. INTERSTELLAR is no different.

The film has a beautifully hopeless apocalyptic feel to it. Without sensationalism, Nolan creates a vision of a world slowly starving to death. It reminded me of JOHN CHRISTOPHER’S classic novel THE DEATH OF GRASS, in which a virus wipes out grass and crops and, by default, the human race too. INTERSTELLAR portrays a world which is gradually becoming a lifeless dustbowl: everything is covered with a layer of grit, massive sandstorms are commonplace, food stocks are becoming more and more sparse, and population numbers have dwindled massively. Nolan focuses on retired astronaut (now farmer) Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his family, and the relationships between the man and his children further emphasise the hopelessness of the human race’s predicament. Cooper’s son, Tom, will never experience the kind of life his father knew… ambition and choice are forgotten and ignored. There are no more engineers or scientists, just farmers, doing everything they can to grow enough food to go around.

Cooper finds himself dealing with what’s left of NASA (little more than MICHAEL CAINE and a handful of other folks working on their final project in hiding) and is convinced to lend his expertise to a desperate last mission to find a new home for mankind. It’s likely to be a one way trip. Can Cooper bring himself to leave his children behind in the hope of saving the rest of the world?

Of course he can.

INTERSTELLAR does exactly what I love to do in my books – it puts ordinary people front and centre when the most important decisions in history need to be made. It’s fascinating watching how Cooper is forced to balance his own feelings and wishes against the needs of everyone else. It’s an impossible choice to make, and he knows that whatever he decides, he’ll inevitably lose.

Like 2001, the film questions mankind’s place in the universe. And also like Kubrick’s masterpiece, you’re left wondering if you’re watching a film about the end of man, or the beginning.

Enough pretentious rambling from me. INTERSTELLAR is an excellent film which is impeccably put together (there’s some incredible model work in there – have a look at this link). I definitely recommend checking it out.

Thanks for reading.

Over the years I’ve recommended many films, books, and podcasts. You can find a full list of them here.

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