Interstellar: Christopher Nolan “Doing What He Wants”

Recently, the renowned screenwriter and director as well as box office juggernaut (his last three movies have each individually grossed over $800 million worldwide) has released his latest epic, Interstellar. While some were surprised that Interstellar has not been performing as well commercial or critically as predicted, the movie has been able to maintain a solid 73% on Rotten Tomatoes as well as have a solid carry over in the third weekend at the box office. Though critics and fans alike complain about the scientific inaccuracy in addition to the risky sound editing, Interstellar is Christopher Nolan at his best, creating an epic film, with an epic vision using epic storytelling, which is exactly what audience’s flock to theaters to see: Christopher Nolan doing what he wants.

One of the most impressive talents and shades of Christopher Nolan, besides making the world fall in love with his bronchitis suffering Batman, is his talent to create a phenomenal original screenplay, regardless of a few rushed points of the film. Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, the plot begins with Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his family who are  farmers in a near dystopian future where almost all the worlds crops have been killed off by a plant epidemic, leaving the world desperate for food and desperate for some Swiffer Dust Spray (Dust Storms are a common thing). Thanks to a gravitational anomaly in Cooper’s daughter’s bedroom, they discover a now secret organization called NASA that is trying to find a new home for the starving human race. Cooper, strangely, is easily persuaded to take a risky job of piloting a space ship to discover new planets on a mission that he may not ever return. Additionally, he is leaving his teenage son and ten-year old daughter for an unknown amount of time to while he is off exploring the universe with coincidentally cute Dr. Brand (Anne Hathaway). Why do you ask? Cause Christopher Nolan does what he wants. Nolan knew that certain plot progression may seem a bit too easy, or coincidental, but this movie isn’t how ex-stripper McConaughey decided to ditch his old family to mess around with Anne Hathaway in space. The screenplay focuses on the actual space adventure itself and the moral issues dealing with the human race as a whole. Yes, certain moments did seem a little contrived, but overall the screenplay was beautifully written and well-paced, keeping the audience from realizing that they were sitting in one place for a full three hours.

Critics have complained that Nolan took some exuberant liberties when creating some of the scientific “mumbo jumbo” that is used to describe more complex topics in the film such as the worm hole and the relationships between time, space, and gravity. But what the critics should be focusing on is how regardless of Nolan’s inaccuracy on some of the scientific concepts, the “fake” science propels the story and movie to cinematic greatness making the directorial liberties completely within bounds. Nolan does what he wants, but it works, and that is, ultimately, what matters.

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On top of that, audiences have been complaining that the movies score is too loud and tunes out the dialogue during pivotal scenes. This seems to be a problem for the actual cinemas showing Interstellar, causing theaters to post warning signs about the loud soundtrack because of numerous complaints. When asked why Christopher Nolan had made this editing decision and if he was going to change it, Nolan answered as only a polite British gentleman would answer, “I do what I want.” Now of course, this isn’t verbatim what Nolan stated, but it’s pretty darn close. Nolan claims that he disbelieves that idea that movie clarity can only be reached through dialogue, but rather through the other elements of the film. While some have scoffed at this artistic choice, Nolan is in every right to keep the sound editing the way he intended it. He is after all the director, and in way, an artists, thus what matters is not what the viewer likes but the artist’s purpose. Nolan, would care less if he achieved coherence through dialogue, so dog-gone-it, he’s just going to cover it over with Hans Zimmer’s intense background music. Why? Cause he can. And to be honest, it works beautifully. At intense scenes, the film’s score swells with grandeur to match the stunning beauty of the CGI universe while at other scenes, the music drops to silence to parallel the terror that one cannot escape in space.

Regardless of the negative criticism, Interstellar, Nolan, does what he wants, and it works. All the key elements of a Christopher Nolan movie, a thought provoking screenplay, majestic visuals, and haunting musical scores, come together to create a true space epic. Many compared Interstellar with 2001: A Space Odyssey, but in vain. Nolan took inspiration from Kubrick’s 1968 classic and made a masterpiece accessible to the general population, but just smart enough to keep the audience on their toes. Every scene is meticulously crafted to form a beautiful story, one of despair, yet one of hope. Nolan, makes the audience laugh, and he makes them cry, but best of all, he makes the audience think. Though, Interstellar may not have met the stratospheric greatness of Nolan’s previous movies, Nolan does what he wants, because he knows that whatever he chooses to do it will work.

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