INTERSTELLAR directed by Christopher Nolan (USA, 2014)

Looking to the stars for hope.

Should we stay or should we go?

Brion Gysin , the English-born painter and poet who introduced William S Burroughs to cut-ups believed that leaving the planet was the only thing that gave any purpose to life on earth; “we are here to go”, he said.

This perverse notion is one that Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan transform into the interstellar overdrive of their extraordinary cinematic vision – a space odyssey of epic proportions.

Reasons to go are indeed pressing since Earth is rapidly becoming uninhabitable with crops literally turning into dust. We are not privy to the precise reason for this state of affairs but Professor Brand (Michael Caine) alludes to humankind’s selfish tendencies as being a primary cause. This is also something Naomi Klein, in her book This Changes Everything, has rightly identified as a key factor in climate change.

If, as seems probable, the future of humankind is due to the largely man-made catastrophe of global warming, it begs the question as to how we are going to prevent fucking up another planet too. The mysterious Eureka solution that saves the world suggests that a last-minute reprieve is possible; a central message that is as delusional as it is dangerous.

The Vulture online mag have compiled 21 things that don’t make sense in the movie and I’m sure there are many more where these came from. This may be the first movie in which audiences are left to wonder if the plot holes outnumber the worm holes. It is easy to criticise it for the ecological vagaries, scientific inaccuracies, clunky dialogue and perverse logic but that doesn’t prevent it from being an enjoyable three-hour roller coaster ride.

Although boldly confronting the final frontier is what makes Interstellar such a spectacular cosmic journey, this is at heart a movie about the ties that bind human beings together. Matthew McConaughey is a father first and a spaceman second. As Cooper, he does what a man’s gotta do yet his intergallactic ambitions are rooted in his commitment to preserving family values.

In addition, the frequent quotation of lines from Dylan Thomas’ poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night suggests that the human survival instinct to rage against the dying of the light is the key to finding a solution to our cosmic woes.

The danger is that the movie fantasy will serve to further distract attention away from the real changes we need to make if we are to go out and save the world. Colonising another planet is about as likely as Republican politicians agreeing to reduce carbon emissions and as long as this remains an inconvenient truth no amount of raging will suffice.

 

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