As someone who embraces as much mystery as possible before seeing a movie, especially a Christopher Nolan movie, I’m being careful in my reading of the incoming “Interstellar” reviews, which are so far pretty good. With 18 reviews in (the moratorium on reviews dropped today), Nolan’s big budgeted nod to his favorite film, Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” holds a 72% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
All I know and want to know about “Interstellar” comes from the trailer. Matthew McConaughey plays a devoted family man called to go on a deep space voyage in order to save humanity from a planet Earth that is rapidly becoming inhospitable. There has been some speculation about just what Nolan’s explanation will be for the deterioration of the planet; would he go the political route and pretend Global Warming is real.
Personally, I didn’t think he would. He’s too smart for that. Nolan is an artist whose colors come in only three shades: theme, theme, and theme. Other than his extraordinary abilities as a storyteller and love for humanity, what I love most about Nolan is how he talks about contemporary society and issues without, well, talking about them.
Nolan’s movies will never be dated. For example, the last two chapters in the “Dark Knight” trilogy had a lot to say about America’s War on Terror, but did so in a way that wouldn’t put people off or give the story an expiration date to future generations.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Interstellar” takes the same approach by shying away from the divisive, anti-science hoax that is Global Warming:
Citizens of the world convinced that our planet and civilization are now in a possibly irreversible decline will readily embrace the postulation of the script, by the Nolan brothers Jonathan and Christopher, that life here will shortly be unsustainable. Shrewdly, the writers don’t reflexively blame the deterioration on the catch-all “global warming” or “climate change,” but rather upon severe “blight” resembling the Dust Bowl of the 1930s; wheat and other produce are done for, while corn growers, such as Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), may have a bit of time left.
This is smart storytelling, as well. Why alienate those of us who believe in science with a bunch of made-up, left-wing Climate Change nonsense?
Maybe Nolan does believe in Climate Change. I don’t know, and that’s the point. This kind of restraint and storytelling maturity is one of the reasons he’s batting a thousand with critics and filmgoers, and on a streak we haven’t seen from any filmmaker since the early days of Spielberg.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC