You have either waited eagerly for a year to see this, or have never heard of it. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall in, this film will almost certainly be a hit for you. Shrouded in immense secrecy for one year, “Interstellar is a voyage into space, gravity and time that connects humanity with nature.

Directed by the bold and daring Christopher Nolan, the man behind “Inception” and “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Interstellar contains about an hour of IMAX footage and probably employs the least visual effects ever in a film of this scale. At 169 minutes, it is also Nolan’s longest film to date. It comprises a stellar cast, with no less than five Oscar nominees among them, each offering a notable performance.

Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a widowed engineer with two children tasked with the mission to find a new planet and save humanity. Anne Hathaway plays Amelia Brand, Cooper’s fellow traveller. Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain both play Cooper’s daughter Murph, as child and adult respectively. Casey Affleck plays Tom, Cooper’s son as an adult. Michael Caine plays Professor Brand, father to Amelia and a space travel researcher.

McConaughey gives an astounding performance as the troubled Cooper, who is forced to sacrifice himself and leave his family in a bid to save Earth. As a child actor, Foy steps up considerably well in a role that requires her to understand the context of Interstellar, and her chemistry with McConaughey is certainly believable. Hathaway and Caine are great in their roles, though their onscreen relationship is not as strong.

At the heart of Interstellar is the father-daughter relationship between Cooper and the young Murph. He is chosen as the best candidate to go on NASA’s last space expedition, but with his mind preoccupied by his children’s needs, he cannot proceed. At face value, the film follows Cooper’s journey into the depths of space and venturing into the unknown. As he is separated from his kids, the only way he can see them is via satellite video transmission, and it is during such moments that one can easily tear.

Scientifically, Interstellar goes incredibly deep into the field of space travel and on topics of black holes and wormholes. That being said, the dialogue is peppered with just enough exposition necessary to convey information that is not common knowledge, which helps audiences comprehend the proceedings within it. Hence, while Interstellar is a sci-fi flick, it is also very educational.

The difference between practical effects and visual effects is discernible, and Nolan stays true to actual effects as much as possible. This depicts realism and enhances production value. Where there is VFX, he pushes the boundaries to create the bending of light, thereby making entirely new software to realise that visually stunning vision. It is not an overstatement to say that Interstellar is a technological and scientific breakthrough, in both reality and fiction.

References are clearly borrowed from other space movies, most notably from “2001: A Space Odyssey. Silence is golden up in space, and due respect is given to the medium. The score by Hans Zimmer is ever present in the background and perfectly complements the overall feel of Interstellar.

Nolan inserts subtle messages while expertly maintaining the tone of Interstellar. The film evenly balances plot and character, giving adequate time to develop both with gradual progression. The pacing is handled with care, with emphasis on the dire need for survival against salvation of mankind.

A compelling story told with splendid actors based on scientific facts, Interstellar is a thought-provoking exercise that needs to be felt and understood. It is an inspiring work that not just entertains, but puts its viewer in awe. As good as it is, this is still purely fictional. It is the team’s ambition that transformed it into a fascinating work of fiction.

Interstellar may demand more than one viewing to fully comprehend its heavy material. If you can only see it once, I urge you to view it in how it’s intended to be seen – IMAX. Be advised to visit the washroom prior to your movie experience as you wouldn’t want to miss anything in it.

This film was reviewed in the IMAX format

Interstellar opens in Digital and IMAX theatres 6 November 2014

Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Running time: 169 minutes
Rating: 4.5/5