The Reign of ‘Interstellar’


“I will not be just a tourist in the world of images”
– Anaïs Nin

It feels like an act of hubris to write something about the cinematic achievement that is Interstellar. Indeed, to borrow a phrase from Harold Bloom, the film effectively closes out the genre. It is a golden halo sitting on the finely etched skull of Science Fiction. What could possibly be said about such a grand synthesis of sight, mind, and memory?

A practical matter first: I saw the film at an IMAX theatre. Shot in 70mm film, the image occupies the entire screen. Three rows from the front and you have nowhere to hide. Wormholes, McConaughey’s tears, an undead Matt Damon, all these things I experienced in a visceral, fundamental way. I don’t know what it would be like at your local multiplex, let alone on your television set. I can only estimate that the loss of grandeur would be relative to the scale of your imaginative investment. When I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey as a kid, I was there. The impact on my preadolescent mind was profound despite seeing the film as a reconstructed analog signal displayed on a small, round television. If you’re able to both allow another’s story to transport you and experience it through the medium most intended you’ll be taken there on automatic stilts, but satisfying only one of those criteria – the willingness to give yourself over to the experience, should be all that’s needed to feel the vastness of the message. Read the rest of this entry »